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Screening Programme

Riddles of the Sphinx (mirror)

Screening Programme: Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen
Urgency and Possibility: Counter-Cinema in the 70s and 80s 

Screening Programme: 29 September – 7 October 2017 

Cooper Gallery presents a two-week screening programme of the collaborative film works by pre-eminent film theorists and filmmakers Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, which instigated Counter-Cinema in the 1970s.

Informed by their ground-breaking essays – Wollen’s Godard and Counter Cinema: Vent d'Est and Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, Mulvey and Wollen made six films between 1974 and 1983 that dealt with the discourse of feminist theory, semiotics, psychoanalysis and leftist politics in an attempt to work against the formalist and ideological domination of Hollywood cinema.

The screening programme at Cooper Gallery features Mulvey and Wollen’s first film Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), which represents an experimental British venture into territory pioneered by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard and explores concerns central to Mulvey's writings: the position of women in relation to patriarchal myth, symbolic language and male fantasy and their most influential film Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), considered to be the most important avant-garde film to have emerged from Britain during the 1970s for its visual accomplishment and intellectual rigour. The programme also includes the rarely seen AMY! (1980), Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1981) and Crystal Gazing (1982).

To mark the opening of the programme, Laura Mulvey will give a talk on September 29, discussing the political context and critical approach in her collaborative film works with Peter Wollen and the importance of alternative energies and activities that are emerging in response to the difficult times in which we live.


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