Doug Ischar: Engender Trouble
Videos by Doug Ischar and Tom Daws and new works by Elijah Burgher, Erin Leland, and Michael Sirianni
June 26 – July 21, 2010
Opening reception, June 26, 6 – 9 PM
come lontano, 6:45 PM
CB, 7:15 PM
We will continue to alternate film showings at 8, 8:30, and 9 PM.
There will be another opportunity to see the films on July 10.
Doug Ischar, 2010, 22m
A perverse historical romance in which two lives are exposed, intermixed, doused with sentiment, and — hopefully — redeemed. The work revolves around a central “couple” — Pier Paolo Pasolini and Maria Callas. There is a third main character, an ambiguous villain made of steel, glass and rubber. Each member of our central couple has her/his own external distractions which impinge — to varying degrees — on their brief, ecstatic encounter. This encounter was in fact a cinematic collaboration; its product the film Medea (1969).
come lontano is a formal experiment in which cinematic tropes serve as organizing devices for a work which anxiously seeks to distinguish itself from post-modern precedent. It hates with all its heart the notion of appropriation. It prefers theft, seduction, and passion — even if the theft is aggravated, the seduction botched, the passion unrequited. One might view the come lontano as a meager analog to Pasolini’s masterpiece, Salo, in which the pleasures of the masters — in this case the filmmaker — are taken to monstrous extremes for which no apology is offered, no acquittal sought.
come lontano is a heartfelt homage to two singular artists whose utterly different lives, personas, and politics intersected briefly in the production of one radiant film, leaving them forever changed. (NTSC) World premier.
Doug Ischar and Tom Daws, 2010, 16m 30s
An experimental bio-pic: its heroine, Charlotte Brontë. A collaboration between Doug Ischar and Tom Daws, CB was commissioned by the Laumeier Museum, St. Louis, for their inaugural Nightlight series; it premiered in St. Louis on June 11.
The film was inspired by a 1976 audio recording of a séance with Charlotte Brontë, of which the film makes ample use. But the séance audio is merely the tip of the affective iceberg as its heroine turns out to have an emotional — not to mention intellectual — life of epic proportions. Her searing letters — another primary element in the video — throw the eerie platitudes of the séance into razor-sharp relief and disclose a 19th century woman whose brief life was both an artistic triumph and a relentless battle against grief, loss, and despair. Her dark moments — confided in her letters — drove the film far beyond the initial ambitions of its makers. CB uses footage from a 1947 Hollywood production of Jane Eyre — co-staring a very young Elizabeth Taylor (un-credited) — to augment enactments of scenes inspired by the ambiguous nature — both conversation with the dead and univocal performance — of the séance audio. Staring Erin Leland, Charlotte Geissler, Jalyn Mosely, and Gwendolyn Geisler; cinematography by Mike Gibisser; concept, research, editing and direction by Doug Ischar and Tom Daws. (High-definition video) Chicago premier.