Regrouping, dir. Lizzie Borden, 1976, 74 min, English
, Lizzie Borden initiates the exploration into the social dynamics of female collectivity that she would continue to pursue in her subsequent fiction films, Born in Flames
(1983) and Working Girls
(1986). Borden began Regrouping
as an attempt to work together with four artists to document the interactions in their women’s group. However, as she puts it in the film, “Gradually the terms of the film changed: they began to drift away; more and more, it became my film.” The final result uses fragmentation, repetition, overlapping voiceovers, and disjunctive sound-image relations to sketch the vicissitudes of group belonging. After a handful of initial screenings, Regrouping disappeared from circulation. Borden put the sole print of the film in her closet for some forty years, yielding to the complaints of its participants, who were unhappy with the outcome. Now, with their permission, it is circulating once more in a new restoration by Anthology Film Archives.
Barbara Hammer’s Audience visits San Francisco, London, and Montreal, where the filmmaker interviews audience members before and after the projection of her films. Audience is both a precious cross-cultural ethnography of predominantly lesbian film publics and a time capsule of key debates that enlivened those spheres in the early 1980s, including the stakes of sexual explicitness, the desire for positive images of lesbianism, and the idea of women-only screenings. Throughout it all, Hammer is a lively presence, crafting an artistic persona and modeling how film can be a medium of encounter between people.
Audience, dir. Barbara Hammer, USA / Canada 1982, 32 min., English
Regrouping, dir. Lizzie Borden, USA 1976, 74 min, English
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.