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PRIVILEGE with Yvonne Rainer in person
Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
Los Angeles, CA
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PRIVILEGE with Yvonne Rainer in person
Sunday March 28, 2010, 7:30 pm  Los Angeles Filmforum presents PRIVILEGE with Yvonne Rainer in person in discussion with Martin Kersels

Part 7 (of 8) of Bodies, Objects, Films: An Yvonne Rainer Retrospective At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles  

Over the course of our 2009-2010 seasons, Filmforum is proud to present Los Angeles's first full retrospective of the media works of Yvonne Rainer. One of the most significant artists in dance and film of the last fifty years, her innovations in both fields are deep and influential.  Each appearance by Rainer will feature a Q&A led by a different moderator, to discuss with her varying aspects of her approaches to her art and life. Tonight's Q&A will be led by Martin Kersels, artist and professor at Cal Arts.    

PRIVILEGE (1990, 103 minutes, 16mm, color and b&w )
Winner of the Dramatic Filmmakers Trophy at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival.

Yvonne Rainer's sixth feature is a genuinely subversive movie about menopause. Out of a subject that has been virtually invisible on film, Rainer has fashioned a witty, risky work about sexual identity and the unequal economies of race, gender and class.

Privilege begins with a documentary style exploration of the taboo subject of menopause and goes on to explore the historical medicalisation and trivialisation of women as they move beyond their child bearing years.

Clearly ageism is a factor in this, but Privilege doesn't take on a pat victim mentality in its exploration, rather widening it's gaze to consider the many competing forms of discrimination that exist in our society.

Privilege ingeniously shifts from documentary to fiction and back as it plays the effects of ageism, sexism and racism off against one another.

The effect of this is an extremely broad ranging and compelling social critique that goes to the core of the competing power relations that we all negotiate every day. In this, Rainer presents us with an image of a power infused world where all of our possibilities in life are mediated by different levels of social privilege largely determined by arbitrary social stereotypes.

Rainer's work takes under the skin key cultural theories such as Julia Kristeva's writings on abjection and Michel Foucault's theories on power and heirarchy. Yet thankfully in doing this, this rhizomatic film does not befall the same overly preachy or less than engaging fate that some of the feminist collective films of the past have. You do not have to be a convert of feminist or cultural theory to appreciate this film. Privilege's powerful performances, beautiful visuals and compelling subject matter really do stand alone.

Privilege's marriage of cultural theory, documentary, and the highest level of poetic drama creates an extremely thought provoking film that demands consideration as one of the most important cinematic social critiques of the 1990's. A thoroughly fascinating film. -- Review of Privilege on Film Optimist
  On Yvonne Rainer: When Yvonne Rainer made her first feature-length film in 1972, she had already influenced the world of dance and choreography for nearly a decade. From the beginning of her film career she inspired audiences to think about what they saw, interweaving the real and fictional, the personal and political, the concrete and abstract in imaginative, unpredictable ways. Her bold feminist sensibility and often controversial subject matter, leavened with a quirky humor, has made her, as the Village Voice dubbed her in 1986, "The most influential American avant-garde filmmaker of the past dozen years, with an impact as evident in London or Berlin as in New York."  Rainer was born in San Francisco in 1934. She trained as a modern dancer in New York from 1957 and began to choreograph her own work in 1960. She was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, the beginning of a movement that proved to be a vital force in modern dance in the following decades. Between 1962 and 1975 she presented her choreography throughout the United States and Europe, notably on Broadway in 1969, in Scandinavia, London, Germany, and Italy between 1964 and 1972, and at the Festival D'Automne in Paris in 1972. In 1968 she began to integrate short films into her live performances, and by 1975 she had made a complete transition to filmmaking.  In 1972 she completed a first feature-length film, LIVES OF PERFORMERS. In all she has completed seven features: FILM ABOUT A WOMAN WHO... (1974), KRISTINA TALKING PICTURES (1976), JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971 (1980, co-produced by the British Film Institute and winner of the Special Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association), THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN (1985), PRIVILEGE (1990, winner of the Filmmakers' Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City. Utah, 1991, and the Geyer Werke Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, 1991), and MURDER and murder (1996).  Rainer's films have been shown extensively in the U.S. and throughout the world, in alternative film exhibition showcases and revival houses (such as the Bleecker St Cinema, Roxy-S.F.; NuArt-L.A; Film Forum-NYC, et al), in museums and in universities. Her films have also been screened at festivals in Los Angeles (Filmex), London, Montreux, Toronto, Edinburgh, Mannheim, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, Creteil, Deauville, Toulon, Montreal, Hamburg, Salsa Majori, Figueira da Foz, Munich, Vienna, Athens (Ohio), Sundance, Hong Kong, Yamagata, and Sydney.    A half-hour video tape entitled YVONNE RAINER: STORY OF A FILMMAKER WHO... was aired on Film and Video Review, WNET-TV in 1980. THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN was aired on Independent Focus, WNET-TV in, 1989, and PRIVILEGE on the same program in 1992 and during the summer of 1994.  In the Spring of 1997to coincide with the release of MURDER and murder: complete retrospectives of the films of Yvonne Rainer were mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. In 2006 MIT Press published Yvonne Rainer's memoir, Feelings Are Facts: A Life. She most recently presented new dance works at REDCAT in June 2009. Source:  HYPERLINK "http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/director.php?director_id=8" http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/director.php?director_id=8  

Martin Kersels is a Los Angeles-based artist working on the fringes of sculpture and performance. His work ranges from the collaborative performances with the group SHRIMPS to large-scale sculptures such as Tumble Room to intimate musical instruments for his "Orchestra for Idiots." Kersels' work has been exhibited at the Pompidou Center, MOCA Los Angeles, Kunsthalle Bern, and the Getty Museum. His sculpture, 5 Songs, and an accompanying performance series, Live on 5 Songs, is currently on view in the Whitney Biennial of American Art.  He teaches at and is co-director of the Program in Art at CalArts.

Yvonne Rainer with Robert Gardner on Screening Room, excerpt: http://www.der.org/films/screening-room-yvonne-rainer.html  

Interview with Yvonne Rainer: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1248/is_n7_v85/ai_19628876/  

Another interview:  http://theadventure.be/node/245  

LA Times profile on Rainer last June: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-yvonne-rainer21-2009jun21,0,5268347.story  

Two extended articles on Yvonne Rainer on Senses of Cinema: "Yvonne Rainer" by Erin Brannigan http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/03/rainer.html  
From Objecthood to Subject Matter: Yvonne Rainer's Transition from Dance to Film by Jonathan Walley http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/18/rainer.html  

Another biography of Rainer: http://people.wcsu.edu/mccarneyh/fva/R/YRainer_bio.html  

One more screening in the Yvonne Rainer Retrospective upcoming in 2010:  May 16 - MURDER and murder (with Rainer in person with Catherine Lord)  

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.  Additional support generously provided by the American Cinematheque.


Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


Owner: Los Angeles Filmforum
On BPT Since: Nov 17, 2009
Adam Hyman

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