Lost Virtues, Found Images

- a screening of films by Canadian Women -
curated by Gerald Saul
Saskatchewan Filmpool
3rd floor - 1822 Scarth St., Regina
8:00 pm, Friday, March 26, 1999

I am very pleased to be able to present the third annual selection of films profiling Canadian female film artists. I think that this set contains a pleasing range of work, from the abstract to the narrative, from the comic to the sombre. I have chosen the individual films for their visual power and ability to communicate through humour. No matter what the style, from Hew and Sternberg's formalistically manipulated images to Ferguson and Wieland's montage of found images to Mitchell or Fleming's animation to Torossian's digital constructions to Hayes and Nicolaou's sentimental narratives, the films are each powerful, thought provoking works of cinematic art.

Thanks to the Canadian Filmmaker's Distribution Centre, who have continued to assist me in my research that has led to this screening.

- Gerald Saul, curator

Passion Crucified (1997, 22 minutes) by Garine Torossian
Torossian pushes the limits of digital construction, fusing modern dance with lush virtual tableaus. She appropriates images and text to sculpt a world in which her nude male dancer must endlessly struggle.

So Far So... (1992, 2 minutes) by Ann Marie Fleming
One of Fleming's rarely seen animated films. In it, Fleming proves that a scratchy line can be just as powerful as a live image in expressing the irony and horror of everyday life.

Dance With Me (1998, 9 minutes) by Cassandra Nicolaou
The discomfort of attending wedding dances looms in the background of this filmmaker's exploration of her relationship with her family, told through home movies and voice over.

C'est la vie (1997, 10 minutes) by Barbara Sternberg
Sternberg takes an unusual direction with this film as she explores found images of horror but makes the project truly frightening by taking away our safety net of traditional filmic representation. Distorted by chemicals, ink, and abrasives, Sternberg takes images of skeletons and bats and turns them into a flurry of colour and form. Death loses its foothold in the chaotic realm she creates.

Grandpa's Fingers (1997, 4 minutes) by Lisa Hayes
Two young girls find thrills through modern mythology while seeking an escape from their hyper-real kodachrome existence.

Swell (1998, 5 minutes) by Carroline Hew
In this film, Hew presents images of a woman attempting to bury herself with stones, to suppress who and what she is. A lesbian kiss lasts only a moment before the projector throws the film out of the gate, denying the image the privilege of visibility. Scissors scratch while impressionistic camerawork, rapid editing and layers of optically printed super-impositions create beautiful chaos - the only course towards freedom.

Barbara's Blindness (1965, 17 minutes) is the first film by Betty Ferguson in collaboration with Joyce Wieland. By comparing this film to other films made by the two "collaborators", it is clear that this is Ferguson's film. It is stitched together like a quilt from fragments of 16mm release prints. Ferguson utilized the original soundtrack for each clip, which allowed her to make this, and her subsequent three films, at minimal cost. She worked outside of the usual film centres, choosing instead to lay the elements out in her kitchen, hand colouring each print like a crafts person. The finished film is humorous and unsettling.

Don't Bug Me (1997, 1 minute) by Allyson Mitchell
A lean, mean and brilliantly funny minimalistic animated cartoon.


Gerald Saul 2005