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The Machine That Kills Bad People:
Les Mains negatives + Simone Barbès ou la vertu
Institute of Contemporary Arts
January 2022

Simone Barbès ou la vertu (Simone Barbès or Virtue), dir. Marie-Claude Treilhou, France 1980, 77 min., French with English subtitles


Paris is the site of two films that explore love and alienation in the late 20th century in this screening, bringing together Marguerite Duras’ Les Mains négatives (Negative Hands) (1978) and Marie-Claude Treilhou’s Simone Barbès ou la vertu (Simone Barbès or Virtue) (1980).

From Paris’ Bastille to the Champs-Élysées, in Marguerite Duras’ short film Les Mains négatives we travel the empty streets at dawn in a continuous shot. Meditating on love and loss and far off places, Duras’ voiceover populates the scene as the city wakes, transitioning from night to day.

Marie-Claude Treilhou’s first feature film as director, Simone Barbès ou la vertu follows Simone, the title’s namesake, in this three-scene, newly restored and underseen classic of 1980s French cinema. From a Parisian porno theatre to a lesbian nightclub to a slow ride home with a stranger, the film in one night captures a microcosm of love and sex, distance and intimacy and the roles we play to navigate between them.

A specially commissioned essay by Eileen Myles accompanies this screening.
The Machine That Kills Bad People is, of course, the cinema – a medium that is so often and so visibly in service of a crushing status quo but which, in the right hands, is a fatal instrument of beauty, contestation, wonder, politics, poetry, new visions, testimonies, histories, dreams. It is also a film club devoted to showing work – ‘mainstream’ and experimental, known and unknown, historical and contemporary – that takes up this task. The group borrowed their name from the Roberto Rossellini film of the same title, and find inspiration in the eclectic juxtapositions of Amos Vogel’s groundbreaking New York film society Cinema 16. 

The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers.

Programme:

Les Mains négatives (Negative Hands), dir. Marguerite Duras, France 1978, 16mm, 14 min., French with English subtitles

Simone Barbès ou la vertu (Simone Barbès or Virtue), dir. by Marie-Claude Treilhou, France 1980, 77 min., French with English subtitles

 
Book tickets
06:45 pm
Wed, 26 Jan 2022
Cinema 1

£13 Full, £11 Concessions, £6.50 Green/Blue Members

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated.

All programme on Cinema 3 is free to ICA members. Join today to enjoy membership benefits.

Essay by Eileen Myles