Lis Rhodes 9 - Sandra Lahire

4 April, 2020 - 21:30
Paddenhoek

A trio of films by British filmmaker Sandra Lahire (1950-2001) that have been recently digitized and restored at Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian), in the context of the research project “Their Past is Always Present”.

Sandra Lahire was a radical lesbian feminist experimental filmmaker who was one of the most prominent and inspiring figures of the London experimental film scene in the 1980s and 90s. Lahire, who also wrote a musical score for Rhodes’ Just About Now, developed a new form of mixed-genre filmmaking. Lahire died in 2001, after a long and persistent struggle with anorexia. She left behind ten experimental 16mm films that offer a profound filmic commentary on anorexia and are prescient of today’s fears of ecological devastation. This selection points to two recurring themes in her work, her anti-nuclear stance and her fascination with Sylvia Plath and her writing.

 

In the presence of Charlotte Procter and Pablo La Parra (EQZE)

Plutonium Blonde

Sandra Lahire
,
UK
,
1987
,
video
,
15'

Plutonium Blonde is a beautifully textured collage of sound and images and a fractured narrative about woman’s self-definition and control. Taking the figure of Thelma, a woman working with the plutonium monitors at the core of a reactor, Lahire questions both the process at the core of the plutonium terminal and that one that constructs female identity. Plutonium Blonde is part of a trilogy of films on radiation (the other two are Uranium Hex and Terminals) that Lahire made in the 1980s.

Night Dances

Sandra Lahire
,
UK
,
1995
,
video
,
15'

Night Dances is for my mother, who died whilst helping me to make this piano musical. ‘The Dance of Death’ is bound to life — Lechaim — as we whirl together by Hebrew gravestones. A dreaming woman is ferried through our decaying city. This is the age of the Personal Computer — the Private Catacomb for the switched-on elite. Its dark doorways are for the wandering homeless ... true survivors. (Sandra Lahire)

Johnny Panic

Sandra Lahire
,
UK
,
2000
,
video
,
46'

Johnny Panic draws primarily on Plath’s short story of the same title as well as incorporating texts from Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, her journals, and poems. Sandra adds to Plath’s short story by staging her own seven dreams. This was the only film she made in a studio with sets and camera crew which gave Sandra the opportunity to explore a different way of working. Her former in-camera super-imposition effects are developed into stage sets with film projections. [ ...] Johnny Panic unleashes an elaboration of pain, fear and loss that is exposed in its raw state. Suicidal desire is extreme. The film brings this into sharp focus. It shocks and disturbs because of its articulation of horror, yet through its formal elegance an authority and dignity is retained that is hauntingly beautiful. (Sarah Pucill)