Material Experiments: Films by Richard Tuohy

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Richard Tuohy in attendance
Active in film since the late 1980s, Richard Tuohy has spent the past decade immersed in the materialist tradition of experimental filmmaking — work that tests the absolute limits of the medium itself. Drawing primarily on natural forms and environments as subject matter for his celluloid manipulations — an array of classic and novel in-camera, darkroom, printing, and editing techniques — Tuohy “abstracts out the fleshiness of the particular” to create dynamic studies of form, structure, time, and pattern, an approach he describes as “cine-cubism.” The filmmaker will present a series of 16mm films, culminating in a live performance using two projectors.
Co-presented with Cineworks and Iris Film Collective
On November 15 & 16, Iris Film Collective and Cineworks present a two-day workshop with Richard Tuohy on his Chromaflex technique. For more information and to register: www.irisfilmcollective.com
Image: Flyscreen, 2010. Courtesy of the artist.

Pierre Huyghe's The Host and the Cloud

Monday, October 20, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Programmed by Michèle Smith
“Huyghe’s strength lies in his understanding . . . [that] images have become masks for universal media ventriloquism.” (Jean Baudrillard)
DIM Cinema is delighted to present the Vancouver premiere of Pierre Huyghe’s The Host and the Cloud, a feature-length film by the acclaimed French artist (a major Huyghe retrospective was recently presented at the Pompidou in Paris and is coming soon to LACMA in Los Angeles). Combining staged and improvised action, this live film project, shot in a building that once housed the French National Museum of Art and Popular Traditions, follows a group of actors through a series of fragmented narratives, fantastical visions, and dreamlike rituals as they freely interpret three public holidays — Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and May Day. “The film might be Huyghe’s most elaborate, intriguing and, quite possibly, weirdest offering to date” (Naomi Fry, Frieze). France,  2009. Dir: Pierre Huyghe. 121 min. DCP

Joanna Hogg's Exhibition

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith
The third feature from writer-director Joanna Hogg (Unrelated, Archipelago) “reaffirms Hogg's status as a distinctive, singular, and challenging voice of British cinema” (Mark Kermode, The Guardian). Doyenne of punk Viv Albertine and Turner-nominated artist Liam Gillick play a married couple who decide to move house, a midlife upheaval that awakens dreams, memories, and fears that have imprinted themselves on the home they have shared, as artists and lovers, for two decades. Shot chronologically, with dialogue improvised by the actors, in a modernist house that confounds distinctions between interior and exterior, the film plays with the idea of the house as psyche or unconscious, an arena for encounter and emotion, and tests how private space is created within a relationship, and within a house that is very hard to keep secrets in. Great Britain , 2013. Dir: Joanna Hogg. 104 min. Blu-ray Disc

Scenes from America

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 7:30 pm


Programmed by Michèle Smith
For his 1982 travelogue 66 Scenes from America, Jørgen Leth recorded a more-or-less random cross-section of the country’s people and places in postcard-like tableaux — most famously a four-minute homage to Andy Warhol’s screen tests, in which the pop artist wordlessly eats a Whopper. The Stars-and-Stripes fluttering across these archetypal images evoke The Americans, Robert Frank’s iconic mid-century photo essay. Frank’s own C’est Vrai/One Hour, his nearly unknown late masterpiece, is a perverse buddy movie shot in a single take and a single hour on July 26, 1990, during which the camera moves from Frank’s Manhattan studio onto the street and into the back of a minivan that careens around the neighbourhood, now and then stopping to jump out and capture a bit of action: candid, staged, improvised — it can be hard to tell. “C’est Vrai is a one-of-a-kind stunt, both street theatre and an urban road movie” (J. Hoberman). “How much this is a tossed-off home movie about Frank’s neighbourhood and how much it’s a contrived board game spread out over several city blocks ultimately becomes a metaphysical question” (Jonathan Rosenbaum).
66 Scenes from America (66 scener fra Amerika) | Jørgen Leth/Denmark 1982. 42 min.
C’est Vrai/One Hour | Robert Frank/France 1990. 60 min.
Image: Andy Warhol in Jørgen Leth's 66 Scenes from America. 1982

Susan Sontag's Promised Lands

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 8:30 pm
Susan Sontag Promised Lands

Programmed by Amy Kazymerchyk and Sarah Todd

Famed writer and critic Susan Sontag’s third film and only documentary obliquely witnesses the final days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel. The film is a collage of observational fragments showing that something happened, but not why it happened, a strategy illustrating her conviction that “to interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world.” Sontag resisted the label documentary, instead suggesting literary analogues such as “the poem, the essay and the lamentation” to describe the film’s dialectical structure. Roberto Rossellini said she uses “the Arab-Israel War as a metaphor for the human condition.” Sontag continued to explore the metaphor of suffering in her writing (Illness as Metaphor, Regarding the Pain of Others). France 1974. Dir: Susan Sontag. 87 min. 16mm



Ursula Mayer: House of Mirrors

Monday, June 16, 2014 - 8:30 pm

Programmed by Amy Kazymerchyk
Further unfolding the cinematic grammar of her films Gonda (2012) and Medea (2013), which are exhibited in Not a curse, nor a bargain, but a hymn at Audain Gallery, this program presents five of Ursula Mayer's films produced between 2005-2010. Like a house of mirrors, Mayer’s films employ cyclical pictorial structures. Within these fractured, looping, reflected circuits, she transposes figures, architectures, and aesthetic eras over each other. Influenced by the work of Alain Robbe-Grillet, Maya Deren, and Andrei Tarkovsky, Mayer composes multifaceted images that refract temporalities and subjectivities. From within their house of mirrors, the figures in Mayer’s films gaze outward from the corridors of history.
Trilogy: Portland Place 33 (2005), Keeling House (2006), Villa Mairea (2006), SD Digital File, 18:40min, BW/Colour 
Interiors, 2006, 16mm, 4min, BW/Colour/Sound
The Crystal Gaze, 2007, 16mm, 8min, BW/Colour/Sound
The Lunch in Fur/ Le Dejeuner en Fourrure, 2008, 16mm, 8min, Colour/Sound
Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, 2010, SD Digital File (dual image), 7min, Colour/Sound
Christine Evans will introduce the House of Mirrors screening. Evans is a sessional instructor in Film Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on the intersections between love, universality, Lacanian psychoanalysis and film theory.
Programmed parallel to Ursula Mayer’s solo exhibition, Not a curse, nor a bargain, but a hymn, at Audain Gallery June 12 – August 2, 2014, and co-presented with Audain Gallery, part of SFU Galleries. Courtesy of Ursula Mayer and LUX, London.
Image: The Crystal Gaze (2007)

Warren Sonbert: Rude Awakenings

Monday, May 26, 2014 - 8:30 pm


Programmed by Michèle Smith 
“Probably not since Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls had its first showing at the Cinematheque… almost a year and a half ago, has an ‘underground’ film event caused as much curiosity and interest in N.Y.’s non-underground world as did four days of showings of the complete films of Warren Sonbert at the Cinematheque’s new location on Wooster St.” (Roger Greenspun, film critic)
This announcement in the trade journal Variety in 1968 marked the arrival of a key innovator in experimental filmmaking. Inspired equally by Hitchcock and Sirk as by Markopoulos and Warhol, Warren Sonbert (1947-1995) had his first career retrospective before his 21st birthday. By the time of his death from HIV/AIDS, he had made eighteen films, the last completed posthumously according to his instructions. DIM Cinema presents a quartet of dazzling films by this seminal figure of the American avant-garde, beginning with a tradition-flouting student film from the mid-1960s, starring two superstars of Warhol’s Factory, and followed by three powerful examples of his mature non-narrative style of “polyvalent montage”— an exuberant rapid-fire editing technique that considers the directional pulls of heterogeneous shots, and combines them along “potentially many dimensions”, to create a distinctive form of lyric cinema.
Hall of Mirrors | USA 1966, 16mm, colour/b&w, 7 min. 
Rude Awakening | USA 1976, 16mm, colour/b&w, silent, 36 min.
The Cup and the Lip | USA 1986, 16mm, colour, silent, 20 min.
Friendly Witness | USA 1989, 16 mm, colour/b&w, 22 min.
Image: Friendly Witness, 1989. Courtesy of Light Cone.

Vater und Sohn/Father and Son/父与子

Monday, April 14, 2014 - 8:30 pm
Programmed by Sarah Todd
Using E. O. Plauen's comic strip of the same name as an entry point, Vater und Sohn/Father and Son/父与子 is a video essay in which Vancouver-based artist Casey Wei combines documentary and travelogue footage with appropriated images to trace the migration of this comic strip from Nazi Germany through Maoist China to the present day. As a child growing up in Shanghai, Wei read collections of the comic and assumed it was Chinese. In 2012, she stumbled across an image of it online in German, and was shocked to discover its true origins. Wei traveled to Germany and China to conduct interviews with people who have encountered the comic strip in various contexts. The film presents the failed utopian strategies of the 20th century through the lens of this comic and provokes thoughts about memory, influence, time, and history.
Please see a trailer for Vater und Sohn/Father and Son/父与子 here.
Casey Wei (b. 1985, Shanghai) is a Vancouver-based artist working in film/video and text. In 2012, she graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Simon Fraser University, where her thesis work was the video Murky Colors. Vater und Sohn/Father and Son/父与子 is her second video and her first feature-length work.

Social Surrealism: Three Films by Jeremy Deller

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

“I thought I would try to get by on my wits creatively, whatever that meant.”  - JEREMY DELLER
In 1986, while hanging out in Andy Warhol’s Factory for a couple of weeks, a 20-year-old art history student from London had a life-changing epiphany: art could be made out of whatever you were interested in. Nearly three decades later, Jeremy Deller is arguably one of the most influential artists of his generation, celebrated as “an enabler, intermediary, collaborator and all-round enlightenment artist … whose material is drawn straight from the life around him, from people’s experiences, from writing and history almost as it happens” (The Guardian). Tonight’s program includes two feature-length documentaries the artist made with the filmmaker Nick Abrahams, one about a pop-culture Renaissance man, the other about Depeche Mode fans, and a short biopic of Adrian Street, a coal miner’s son whose wrestling persona inspired Glam Rock and early performance art, a man Deller thinks “needs to be seen as the hero of his own life.”
The Bruce Lacey Experience | Great Britain 2012. Dirs: Jeremy Deller, Nick Abrahams. 67 min.
So Many Ways to Hurt You (The Life and Times of Adrian Street) | Great Britain 2010. Dir: Jeremy Deller. 28 min.
Our Hobby is Depeche Mode | Great Britain 2008. Dirs: Jeremy Deller, Nick Abrahams. 73 min.
Jeremy Deller (b. 1966, London) studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and University of Sussex. He had his first solo exhibition in his parents’ house while they were away on vacation and subsequent ones in Paris, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In 2012, the Hayward Gallery, London, organized a touring mid-career retrospective, Joy in People. Deller received the Turner Prize in 2004 and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2013.
Nick Abrahams studied art and English literature at Exeter University and Art School. He came to filmmaking as a director of pop videos for Stereolab, Manic Street Preachers, Sigur Ros, and many others. He is currently working on his first feature.
Image: Adrian Street, vintage photograph, 1973, from So Many Ways to Hurt You, 2010.

Synthetic Properties: Helen Marten and Zoe Tissandier

Monday, February 17, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Programmed by Sarah Todd.
"Synthetic Properties" brings together two recent films that illustrate the simultaneous banality and wonder of contemporary image and object making technology. Helen Marten’s Evian Disease exploits the medium of digital animation. Structured by six narrators floating through a modern apartment, the spectacularly artificial composition investigates the absurd materiality of digital artifice and the sanitized but seductive formal vocabulary of CGI animation. Zoe Tissandier’s new work In Praise of Scribes focuses a similarly meditative gaze upon an advanced 3D printing machine. An in-depth visual analysis of the 3D printing process produces an allegory around the potentiality and complexity of the endlessly reproducible object, drawing the printing process’s resultant object as both banal artifact and fetishistic talisman.
Helen Marten, Evian Disease. 2012,  29mins. Animation by Adam Sinclair. Digital animation. Courtesy of the artist and T293 Gallery. 
Zoe Tissandier, In Praise of Scribes. 2013, HD Video, 26mins. Courtesy of the artist.
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Helen Marten lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions includeEvian Disease, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Park Nights: Dust and Piranhas, Serpentine Gallery (2011); Take a stick and make it sharp, Johann König, Berlin (2011) and Wicked Patterns, T293, Naples (2010). Marten participated in the 2013 Venice Biennale. Recent group exhibitions include New pictures of common objects, MoMA PS1, New York (2012).
Zoe Tissandier is a visual artist from the UK, currently based in Vancouver. Her practice employs a variety of mediums including video, letterpress, projection, sound and installation. Zoe Tissandier received a BA Photography degree from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, UK in 2002 and an MFA degree from the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia in 2010.