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Friday, September 13, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Invisible Adversaries + Invasion of the Body Snatchers


It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Valie Export’s Invisible Adversaries (1977) with Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).

By Courtney Duckworth

Women are always doppelgängers. Critic John Berger wrote that a woman is “almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself” through a prickly self-surveillance. Such double vision imbues the oeuvre of Austrian artist-agitator Valie Export—an alias she adopted to shed the encumbering surnames of father and ex-husband—who gummed up masculine voyeurism with her puckish, impertinent performances of the 1960s and ’70s. Export’s energetic experiments infuse Invisible Adversaries (1977), her debut feature, a brisk bricolage of improvised dialogue, sight gags, (re)staged performances, grainy documentary footage, and reenactments of her studio practice that together, she said, “put alternative artistic media into a discourse with conventional film.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Wadjda + Alice in the Cities


It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Haifaa al-Mansour’s Wadjda (2012) with Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities (1974).

By Simran Hans

The bicycle is Christmas tree–green and shiny, its ribbon-festooned handlebars wrapped in new-toy plastic. It is the bike of 10-year-old Wadjda’s (Waad Mohammed) daydreams, so perfect it’s as though she wished it into existence. It appears like a dream, too, seeming to cycle itself along a brick wall. The bike, it turns out, is being carried by a truck; it’s not a magic trick after all. She follows the bike to find it for sale, priced at a very real 800 riyal.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Beyond the Canon: 3 by Maya Deren + Mulholland Drive


It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs three films by Maya Deren with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001).

By Shelley Farmer

Without Maya Deren, the filmmaker widely recognized as the mother of American avant-garde cinema, there is no David Lynch. Their works overlap both thematically—in their interest in doubles, dance, and the darkness underlying the mundane—as well as in visual and formal aspects: their use of mirror imagery, negative photography, and superimposition, to their dreamlike narrative logic and pacing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Problem-Solving Production Managers Working Behind the Scenes at the BAM Fisher

Everybooty, 2018. Photo: Santiago Felipe


By David Hsieh

The black box Fishman Space in the BAM Fisher was built to be flexible, and since it opened in 2012, artists have come up with unexpected ways to test that flexibility. There have been shows in the round, on three sides, with the audience sitting on stage, with rocking chairs as seats, and with no seats at all. In the most recent Next Wave, for instance, there were productions that made audiences see the theater in completely new ways: Michelle Dorrance’s Elemental went above audience’s heads to dance on the lighting grids; Andrew Schneider’s NERVOUS/SYSTEM turned the theater into a magic lantern with each blackout revealing a new tableau; Jesper Just’s Interpassivities made audience walk on “terra infirma” the whole time. And this Pride Weekend, it will become a nightclub with Everybooty.

So how do we bring these artists’ ceaseless creative ideas to the stage? The secret lies with our ingenious production managers/supervisors, Collins Costa and Courtney Wrenn. Here, they reveal their magic.

Beyond the Canon: Touki Bouki + Breathless

Touki Bouki (1973) + Breathless (1960)

It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973) with Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960).

By Devika Girish

Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty is often described as an “African Godard.” His debut feature, Touki Bouki (1973), bears striking similarities to Jean-Luc Godard’s own firecracker first feature Breathless (1960). Both films center on a young couple as they swindle their way through the city with impossible, punk-ish cool; both are shot in a handheld, improvisatory style replete with jump-cuts.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Go Behind the Scenes with Two of BAM’s Most Dynamic Staff Members

Daisy Desnuda (photo by Doug Ross) and Flower Tortilla (photo by Michael Avance)

By David Hsieh

They have double identities. To BAM staff and patrons, they are Leo Paredes and Hector Rios, with the totally normal job titles of, respectively, Operations Coordinator for Education and Community Engagement and Special Events Coordinator. But to New York’s night crawlers, they are known as Daisy Desnuda, burlesque thespian, and Flower Tortilla, drag queen. But once in a while, the two lives converge. Such is the case when Flower Tortilla performs at Everybooty, BAM’s annual Pride party, joining many other New York night life glitterati in celebration of diversity and creativity. We talked to them about what it’s like pursuing two parallel career paths.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Meet the Projection Team That Keeps BAMcinemaFest Rolling

Mike Katz, Head Projectionist





By Sam Polcer

The film festival The New Yorker called “The city’s best independent showcase” is in full swing, which makes Mike Katz, who has been the Head Projectionist here at BAM since the cinemas opened in 1998, along with Jesse Green, our Cinema Technical Manager, currently two of the busiest men in show business. We thought we’d make their day even more complicated by sneaking into their submarine-like lair to ask them a couple questions about the unique challenges posed by such a unique cinema experience. (You’re welcome, guys.)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

In Context: Espæce

Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage

An enormous moveable wall splits and folds like a book. Five performers—three dancers, a soprano, and an actor—navigate this stunning monolith to create a shape-shifting tableau. Aurélien Bory’s playful, poetic work of physical theater is inspired by the life and work of writer-trickster Georges Perec, best known for his wordplay and droll wit. Using Perec’s Species of Spaces as a jumping-off point and diving into a physical riddle of arrivals and departures, presence and absence, Espæce destabilizes our expectations to moody and mischievous effect.

After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #espaece.

Program Notes

Espæce (PDF)

When the Wall is On Stage

Photo: Michael Slobodian




By David Hsieh

In the conventional sense, the stage is defined by the space between the three visible walls and the fourth invisible wall. The three visible walls separate the theater from the real world, and the fourth wall separates the audience from the performers. A wall is a divider. It blocks the audience’s view; it reduces performing space. So setting up additional walls on stage is tricky. But when it’s done right, the effect can be quite, shall we say, theatrical.

Monday, June 10, 2019

In Context: Ballet BC

Photo: Michael Slobodian

Canada’s beloved contemporary ballet company celebrates 10 years of excellence under the leadership of artistic director Emily Molnar, a former soloist with Ballett Frankfurt. In a kind of career-spanning reunion, this evening-length trio sets a new piece (To This Day) by Molnar alongside Enemy in the Figure, a masterwork by her former mentor William Forsythe, as well as Solo Echo, choreographed by fellow Frankfurt alum Crystal Pite. Emotive, expansive, and supremely theatrical, these three daring works embody the innovative spirit and tenacious artistry for which Ballet British Columbia has become known.

After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BalletBC.

Program Notes

Ballet BC (PDF)