ACMI Cinema 1
Within the abstract there is potential, in the absence of conventional forms, these films expand the bounds of what we thought was possible. Not just literally in terms of the films figures, but conceptually in terms of the ideas that may materialise in our minds. This series of short films brings Suzan Pitt and Marta Pajek into conversion with one another. They are two filmmakers from different generations, schools of thought and opposite sides of the globe; who explore feminism in dialogue with surrealism.
A pre-recorded interview with Pitt and Pajek will be screened after the film.
(Suzan Pitt, 2006)
This visual animated poem travels between desperation and dark comedy. El Doctor takes place in a crumbling Mexican hospital at the turn of the century in Mexico. Inhabited by surreal characters including a man shot with one hundred holes, a girl who has sprouted morning glories, and a woman who thinks she is a horse, the doctor in charge prefers to drink. The Saint of Holes and a mysterious gargoyle rearrange the Doctor's fated demise and send him on a journey of altered perspective.
(Suzan Pitt, 2011)
Surrealistic and strange, cast in grainy 16mm images, the film Visitation allows an imaginary glimpse into the aura of “an outer-world night”. . . the visions in the film are summoned from the film maker's imagining of a mythical eternity which is beautiful but fraught with pain, exposed by the ether voices and figures which inhabit the eternal ballet beneath our consciousness. “'My mood at the time had served to aggravate those deeply inhuman and most terrible beings when they came with total abandonment from where they had lurked amongst the stones and wet woods”… With these lines, Visitation unwinds through a hand painted heavenly hell of unending life and death. ; steeped in the alchemical and inner dream life the film explores a black and white landscape of gothic figures who enact evolving metaphysical dramas.
(Suzan Pitt, 1995)
An ambitious, astonishing story of a woman's journey from suicidal despair to personal renewal, with the help of an unlikely spirit guide. Joy Street is entirely hand painted and took four years to complete. Using a Fulbright scholar award Pitt traveled to remote rainforest regions of Mexico and Guatemala to create paintings of the nearly extinct patches of remaining virgin forest which were later animated for the film. The music was created for the film by Roy Nathanson and the Jazz Passengers, with title song recorded by Debby Harry.
(Suzan Pitt, 1979)
This candy colored nightmare rocked audiences upon its release and catapulted maker Suzan Pitt to the front ranks of indie animation. Stunning cel animation propels its blank-faced protagonist into the world of the phallus, rendered here as a field of asparagus, which she deep throats, excretes and flushes away. The film's stunning set piece occurs before a claymation audience who gape as the artist opens her Medusa's box to release rare wonders. A moving meditation on art and the cost of reproduction, Asparagus remains, twenty-five years after its release, a benchmark of single frame intensity.
(Suzan Pitt, 1971)
A film about the artist's family life; giving the baby a glass of water, going to bed and making love. The CROCUS drawings poetically interpret an act of love during which a wild assortment of moths, birds, flowers, and vegetables - including a huge cabbage - float through the room and out the window.
& OTHER STORIES II
(Marta Pajek, 2016)
A young woman keeps stumbling and falling in her daily rush. When she gets up, she discovers her house has quite unexpected attributes – it’s built from paradoxes and filled with illusions. The film is the second in the triptych “Impossible Figures and Other Stories” inspired by the concept of impossible figures. Each of the parts tells a story of aiming for perfection and trying to fulfil yourself in a reality full of traps.
Marta Pajek, 2018)
A man and a woman meet in a waiting room and are immediately drawn to each other. They begin a game that gradually gets more and more ferocious. Their faces resemble masks, while shapes slowly lose their integrity. Bodies are formed like clay, embracing each other unto the limits of impossibility. III is a portrait of a woman in an exhausting relationship with a man; alluring and repulsive in equal measure. The film is the third instalment of the triptych “Impossible Figures and other stories.”
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible, with accessible public transport nearby. El Doctor has limited dialogue, and the rest of the films have no dialogue. Closed captions are not available, but the post-film interview will be subtitled.