SlottsbiografenSaturday, 27 October 15:00
Intro: Gunvor Nelson
“The natural flow of the Western eye is left to right, which makes right to left motion have more power,” says Gunvor Nelson. Born in 1931 and raised in Kristinehamn,
Sweden, Nelson moved to the USA in 1953. In collaboration with Dorothy Wiley, she
made her first film, Schmeerguntz, in 1966 while immersed in the San Francisco Bay
Area’s lively experimental film culture. In addition to filmmaking, Nelson inspired new generations of artists while teaching at San Francisco State University and San Francisco Art Institute. Nelson moved back to Sweden in 1993, where she resides to
this day. With her unique style of personal and poetic filmmaking, Nelson is one of
the main protagonists in avant-garde filmmaking from the 1960s to today. Her works touch both the imagination and the physical body. Through the use of repetition in her works, she empowers herself and the viewer to get back to one’s most urgent needs. She’s been the recipient of numerous major awards and grants, including most recently the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s Grand Award. In 2008 Nelson was awarded an artists lifetime income guarantee by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. Her films have been screened at major art museums as MOMA in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and cinematheques in Europe and North America. A focus on Nelson’s work is vital because, in its entirety, it can be seen as a nucleus of an artist’s understanding of inscribing oneself in history.
Gunvor Nelson will be present at the screening.
An amusing portrait of a stripper, beginning with a depiction of a professional mature stripper performing her act. After having removed her clothes, she starts to undo her body parts as well. Nelson is considerate towards her object. The stripper is performing the act with professionalism, both dignity and distance, and this force is hailed by the camera.
Screened on 16 mm.
The title of the film is coined after Nelson’s father’s nonsense word for sandwich (“smörgås” in Swedish), is a hilarious, grotesque, and grave attack on the public ideal of the American housewife. Critic Ernest Callenbach wrote in excitement that “A society which hides its animal functions beneath a shiny public surface deserves to have such films as Schmeerguntz shown everywhere.”
MY NAME IS OONA
Nelson’s final breakthrough on the American avant-garde film scene. The sound consists of Nelson’s daughter, Oona, repeating the names of the days of the week and of her saying “my name is Oona”. The latter is edited into an expressive rhythmical structure that accompanies the visual structure of the film that plunges into the experience of a child.
Screened on 16 mm.
The explicit body politics in Nelsons early film Take Off is developed further in this highly personal film. The film begins with shots of naked bodies in a bath and transgresses into depicting male and female bodies swimming naked underwater. The latter part of the film is almost totally liberated from speech and has a complex, dreamlike soundtrack consisting of sounds of waves, voices, water, and music woven together into a seamless web of sounds.