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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Geography of the body
Geography of the body

Geography of the body

director: Willard Maas
original title: Geography of the body
country: United States
year: 1943
running time: 7 min.

synopsis

The wrinkles and curves of a naked female and male body, shot from unexpected angles through a magnifying glass, provoke an associative stream of commentary by British poet George Barker, whose ornamental tongue wrapped with a raw gaze of the skin is concluded by Aristophanes's exclamation: "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love."

biography

The American pioneer of experimental film, poet and writer Willard Maas (1906-1971) devoted himself to animation in the 1940s. Together with his partner, filmmaker Marie Menken, they formed a part of the New York avant-garde scene and founded the Gryphon art movement. In his films, he initially focused on myths and then later on sexuality and queer identities.

more about film

director: Willard Maas
cast: Willard Maas, Marie Menken

other films in the section

Fireworks
This classic example of experimental and queer cinema weaves together a sadomasochistic fantasy of a violent conflict between the main protagonist and a group of well-built sailors. The film’s director, appearing in the role of the young man, explores desire and the imagination, supplementing sexual motifs with references to the conservative American dream shortly after the Second World War.
personal program

Fireworks

Kenneth Anger
United States / 1947 / 14 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
The Mechanics of Love
A controversial film for its time that transforms the act of sex into a fragile composition of shots of objects from the lovers' bedroom and the everyday artifacts that resemble it in form, movement and appearance. The playfully symbolic, rhythmic collage is complemented by a poetic commentary by photographer, composer and art critic John Gruen.
personal program

The Mechanics of Love

Willard Maas, Ben Moore
United States / 1955 / 7 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
East European Premiere
Removed
In her collage of pornographic films from the 1970s, Uman uses white paint and nail polish remover to erase the actresses. The blank spots in the shape of the female bodies emphasize and critique their position within the filmed act of sex and seduction, ironically reducing the men to cheap gazes and possessive physical contact.
personal program

Removed

Naomi Uman
Mexico, United States / 1999 / 7 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Gilette o Juliette
The intensities of physical experience and mental passion are reflected in physical and metaphorical splices of cultural, political and personal mythologies. In intimate scenes of transforming photographs into food or masturbation with a razor blade, the image and body become the subject of borderline desire, injury, disruption and harm.
personal program

Gilette o Juliette

Sirio Luginbülh
France / 1978 / 15 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Fuses
A classic work of avant-garde cinema, in which the intimacy of a sensual experience meets the materiality of the medium in a spontaneously poetic celebration of physical existence. The filmmaker utilizes burning, painting, and drawing on the film stock, modifying the speed of shots, and layering multiple exposures in a non-narrative structure of scenes from nature and sexual scenes in which the filmmaker performs with her partner.
personal program

Fuses

Carolee Schneemann
United States / 1967 / 30 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Amalgam - Textur
A female nude descending the stairs and multiplied by optical copying by multiple exposures of her three repetitions. Textur is the third part of the four-part Amalgam film, an experiment with time exposure and image layering experiment that examines film time and the tense motion between a particular image and abstract traces of moving objects on a film material.
personal program

Amalgam - Textur

Werner Nekes
Germany / 1974 / 11 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Hold Me While I'm Naked
The sharply ironic allusion to both Hollywood and avant-garde cinematography thematizes sexual frustration in a fictitious situation of a depressive freelance director asking an actress to be naked in the shower. Thanks to the combination of humour and a low-quality aesthetic, this is the most famous underground short film by Kuchar.
personal program

Hold Me While I'm Naked

George Kuchar
United States / 1966 / 15 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Oblivion
A passionate observation of a lover, whose body is imbued with grainy texture and the explosive flares of the film material. Using rapid cuts, the director fuses contrasting black and white negatives and color positives of the same images, so that the diary-like captured moments or evasive allusions can disappear in the fluidity of consciousness and the unsettled volatility of excited passion.
personal program

Oblivion

Tom Chomont
Canada / 1969 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Ai (Love)
The body and sensibility are celebrated by the renowned Japanese avant-garde artist with a poetic montage of the details of muscle and tissue movements, irritating glances at the crevices and vacant lots. In the spirit of abstract documentarism and accompanied by certain music from Yoko Ono, the skin surfaces touch each other in rhythmically composed approximations of crinkles and crumpling.
personal program

Ai (Love)

Takahiko Iimura
Japan / 1962 / 10 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Flaming creatures
This legendary film on the free poetics of the body works with the DIY aesthetic, sprightly staging, performances, and humor. It transgressively refers to the approaches of melodrama and burlesque which Smith uses to create an unconventional and - for the period - radical depiction of sex. For its erotic scenes, it was banned in many countries, and in the United States it ignited a debate on censorship.
personal program

Flaming creatures

Jack Smith
United States / 1963 / 45 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Baby Doll
New York go-go dancers Ferne and Irene are preparing to perform and talk about their work. In a witty and empathetic observation, they reflect on their experience, their own dignity and the transformation of the perception of public behavior, which was more of an art form than a utilitarian service.
personal program

Baby Doll

Tessa Hughes-Freeland
United Kingdom / 1982 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Return to Reason
The magnum opus of Dadaist film celebrates the photogenics of discreet objects, where among the captured objects, their mobile rayograms, and engaging asymmetrical shadows, we see a shot of the naked body of Kiki from Montparnassus, muse of the entire interwar artistic generation in Paris, who becomes a graceful projection surface for the penetration of light through the window in a perfect geometry of desire.
personal program

Return to Reason

Man Ray
France / 1923 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
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