Mapplethorpe, Anderson and Tsangari to captivate Melbourne audiences

acmi-robert-mapplethorpe-look-at-the-picturesThree films featuring the work of boundary-pushing artists will screen at ACMI Cinemas across September and October with exclusive limited seasons of Heart of a Dog – from writer, director and performance artist Laurie Anderson; Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures – an intimate portrait of the provocative 2oth Century photographer; and Chevalier – from one of the leading forces in Greek New Wave cinema, Athina Rachel Tsangari.

Following screenings at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures started screening this week at ACMI Cinemas. Exploring one of the most complex and provocative figures in 20th Century photography, co-directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato use their unrestricted access to Robert Mapplethorpe’s archives to create the first feature-length documentary since the artist’s death in 1989.

Active in New York City’s hedonistic art scene from the late 60s through to the 80s, Mapplethorpe achieved notoriety for photos depicting sex, gay sadomasochism and nudity. American Senator Jesse Helms famously condemned his work with four words: ‘look at the pictures’. While Mapplethorpe’s work still remains contentious to this day, he is credited with transforming photography into a fine art form.

A candid examination of an artist that didn’t distinguish between the personal and the professional, the film features interviews with Mapplethorpe’s former lovers, family members, and collaborators. Interviewees include Debbie Harry, Fran Leibowitz and Brooke Shields – and the artist’s youngest brother, Edward Mapplethorpe, who worked as his assistant.

One of the most distinctive voices in the Greek New Wave, Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg) brings her latest film Chevalier to ACMI Cinemas from 6 October. Taking out Best Film at the 2015 London FIlm Festival, Tsangari’s newest work is set on a luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea where six men – all friends – embark on a competition to be crowned the ‘Best at Everything’.

Chevalier sees Tsangari shift her focus from female protagonists to create a clever critique on masculinity and human weakness. As the men score each other on their physical appearances, culinary knowledge and their jet skiing and dancing prowess, it doesn’t take long before the alpha and beta personalities are revealed – and the game of one-upmanship rapidly escalates.

Receiving kudos for her work in contemporary Greek cinema, Tsangari collaborated closely with director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) to produce the films Dogtooth and Alps. The two filmmakers also share common creative ground with screenwriter Efthimis Filippou (The Lobster), who transforms the straightforward premise of Chevalier into a highly amusing tale of morality, class and masculinity.

From 20 October ACMI Cinemas and MPavilion co-present Heart of a Dog, featuring musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson ruminating on love, loss and her beloved dog, Lolabelle, who passed away in 2011. Anchoring the film through the death of her rat terrier, Anderson creates a unique dream-like essay stitched together by stories from a variety of sources – from her childhood to Buddhist teachings about the afterlife, to thoughtful reflections on data collection.

Featuring artwork created by Anderson – such as violin compositions, hand-drawn animation and 8mm home movies – Heart of a Dog sees the artist delve into her own life and creativity to explore the nature of storytelling and how it helps to give people’s lives meaning. Paying tribute to a wide range of artistic influences, Anderson incorporates contributions from her late friend and sculptor Gordon Matta-Clark, author David Foster Wallace, and her late husband Lou Reed, whose music concludes the film.

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
ACMI Cinemas, Federation Square, Melbourne
Season continues to 11 October 2016
Information and Bookings: www.acmi.net.au

Chevalier
ACMI Cinemas, Federation Square
Season starts Thursday 6 October 2016
Information and Bookings: www.acmi.net.au

Heart of A Dog
ACMI Cinemas, Federation Square, Melbourne
Season starts Thursday 20 October 2016
Information and Bookings: www.acmi.net.au

Image: Robert Mapplethorpe

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