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Performance

Thresholds and Sensations: The Cinema of Marie Louise Alemann

Tuesday / Oct 13 / 15
8:45 pm


TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West
Toronto

Thresholds and Sensations: The Cinema of Marie Louise Alemann
Curated by Federico Windhausen (in person)

FREE screening (Tickets available 1 hour before screening)

Co-presented by FADO Performance Art Centre
Supported by the Goethe Institut

This programme provides an introduction to the cinema of Marie Louise Alemann, a major experimental filmmaker who remains virtually unknown outside of her adopted homeland of Argentina. Born Marie Louise Steinheuer in Germany in 1927, Alemann left Europe for Argentina in the late forties and began her filmmaking practice in the late 1960s. She later became associated with a loose-knit collective of fellow filmmakers in Buenos Aires, which included her fellow émigré Narcisa Hirsch, Claudio Caldini, and Juan Jose Mugni, among others. Distinguishing Alemann not only within the Argentine group, but also in the broader context of the era’s alternative cinemas, is her unique exploration of cinematic performance: she often presented herself and other performers in staged and improvised scenarios, populating urban and rural spaces with odd, menacing, or humorous props and costumes, and filming them in a visual style that ranged from the decorative to the minimalist.

Beyond the films themselves, Alemann’s legacy extends to the artist’s important work within institutions of culture, most prominently the Goethe Institut that was established in Buenos Aires in 1967. At a time when Argentina’s military dictatorship was waging a campaign of state terrorism against political dissidence, Alemann helped establish the Goethe as an institutional home for experimental cinema—and remarkably, none of the Super 8 filmmakers whose work was screened at the Goethe were subjected to direct political repression during the dictatorship.

As this programme of her own and her colleagues’ work demonstrate, Alemann was not only attentive to the need for a semi-protected space for alternative culture in Buenos Aires, but was also willing to take risks within that space. Among the most notable dictatorship-era works in her neglected filmography are her allegory of “disappearance,” Sensation 77: Mimicry, and Thresholds, which deserves to be regarded as a major work of Latin American queer cinema.—Federico Windhausen

PROGRAM

Autobiografico 2
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1974 | 5 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Vanessa
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1974 | 6 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Untitled
dir. Juan José Mugni | Argentina 1975 | 5.5 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Self-Defense (Legitima defensa)
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1980 | 8 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Sensation ’77: Mimicry (Sensación 77: Mimetismo)
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1977 | 8 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Table Scenes (Escenas de mesa)
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1979 | 8 min. super 8 to sd transfer

Thresholds (Umbrales)
dir. Marie Louise Alemann | Argentina 1980 | 19 min. super 8 to sd transfer

The Bengali Night (La noche Bengali)
dir. Narcisa Hirsch | Argentina 1980 | 6 min. super 8 to sd transfer

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[ Co-Presentations ]