DEAD BIRDS by Robert Gardner

Free Memorial Screening
Presented with Documentary Educational Resources, Studio7Arts, and UIC Daley Library

Bob70percent
(photograph by Akos Ostor)

July 21st at 8:00 pm, Free

“In Dead Birds my fondest hope was that my camera be a mirror for its viewers to see themselves.” -RG

The Nightingale Cinema is honored to present a FREE screening of Dead Birds (1964) to note the recent passing of legendary nonfiction filmmaker Robert Gardner. This commemorative screening of his most influential film, Dead Birds, is a 16mm print from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Daley Library. The print is being made available to the public with special permission from Gardner’s family, Studio7Arts and Documentary Educational Resources of Watertown, MA (DER.org).

There is a fable told by a mountain people living in the highlands of New Guinea about a race between a snake and bird. It tells of a contest which decided whether men would be like birds and die, or be like snakes which shed their skins and have eternal life. The bird won, and from that time all men, like birds, must die. 

-from the film Dead Birds

Screen shot 2014-07-02 at 1.22.42 PM

Gardner’s own synopsis of Dead Birds

Dead Birds is a film about the Dani, a people dwelling in the Grand Valley of the Baliem high in the mountains of West Papua. When I shot the film in 1961, the Dani had a classic Neolithic culture. They were exceptional in the way they dedicated themselves to an elaborate system of ritual warfare. Neighboring groups, separated by uncultivated strips of no man’s land, engaged in frequent battles. When a warrior was killed in battle or died from a wound and even when a woman or a child lost their life in an enemy raid, the victors celebrated and the victims mourned. Because each death needed to be avenged, the balance was continually adjusted by taking life. There was no thought of wars ever ending, unless it rained or became dark. Wars were the best way they knew to keep a terrible harmony in a life that would be, without them, much drearier and unimaginable.

Dead Birds has a meaning that is both immediate and allegorical. In the Dani language the words refer to the weapons and ornaments recovered in battle. Their other more poetic meaning comes from the Dani belief that people, because they are like birds, must die.

Dead Birds was an attempt to film a people from within and to see, when the chosen fragments were assembled, if they could speak not only about the Dani but also about ourselves.

-from robertgardner.net

 

(more…)



Filed under: documentary, film, Free Screening!, Uncategorized

ELEGY TO CONNIE

Animated Documentary by Sarah Paulsen

Women in women

 Saturday, July 19th at 8:00 pm, $7-10

On February 7th, 2008, in Kirkwood, Missouri, an affluent suburb of St. Louis, Lee “Cookie” Thornton opened fire in a city meeting killing five people, among them councilwoman Connie Karr. Thorton had long been an resident of the adjacent Meacham Park, which was subsumed by Kirkwood via eminent domain for commercial development in the late 90′s. ELEGY TO CONNIE (2014) is a feature-length animated documentary that examines the complex events prior to and after the shootings as retold by a group of grassroots community builders who were close with the late councilwoman. The film was made partially in collaboration with these women and is based on their stories. Paulsen’s intricate and beautiful animations serve as a platform to explore memory, mass shootings, citizen representation, the utopian suburban dream, and healing after tragedy.

A discussion with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

ELEGY TO CONNIE is supported by a Mid America Arts Alliance Grant underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council.

Sarah Paulsen is an artist, filmmaker and community organizer whose artwork has been exhibited widely in local and national exhibitions, and whose films have been featured in the St. Louis International Film Festival, the True/False Film Festival (St. Louis, MO), and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, among many others. A 2010 C.A.T. Institute fellow, she has also completed numerous residencies – including the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris – and orchestrated several large-scale St. Louis-based community projects. In 2009 she founded the now-annual People’s Joy Parade on Cherokee Street, which will soon be in its sixth year. Paulsen holds a B.A. in visual art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and an M.F.A. from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University. She lives and works in St. Louis, where she teaches art and animation at the St. Louis Art Museum, Marian Middle School and the St. Louis Community College, Forest Park.

Programmed by Christy LeMaster

 



Filed under: animation, artist in attendance, documentary, experimental, video

Next Page »