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TIFF Cinematheque - Barbara Hammer

02 Apr 2013


The Free Screen — Brave New World: The Films of Barbara Hammer — April 4 to 7

Pioneering experimental filmmaker and lesbian activist Barbara Hammer joins us in person for this special free three-night survey of her remarkably prolific 45-year career. Born at the tail end of the Depression to parents heading west to Los Angeles in search of a better life, Hammer is the quintessential 20th-century American pioneer. This retrospective features such classic and influential films as Nitrate Kisses (1992), a taboo-busting provocation, politically charged polemic and a rapturous visual ode to the sensual pleasures of love and intimacyand Resisting Paradise (2003), an eloquent and richly layered examination of the artist’s and individual’s role in times of conflict, and made at the time of the war in Kosovo. Co-presented with Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC) and the Images Festival.

All the films are free!  For complete program listing, showtimes check the Cinematheque website at:


CAPSULE REVIEWS for a few films:


Directed by Barbara Hammer

A document of the stages director Barbara Hammer went through while recovering from Ovarian Cancer till her 13 month remission.  The horse in the film is one that she owns who also suffers from cancer – a tumour of the eye and groin that got bette after being properly fed and cared for.  Hammer walks around in the wild nude bathing in the nude and enjoying the joy of life the best she can.   The film demonstrates the incredible courage of a woman who fights for her life and shows remarkable courage in the process.  Perhaps a film that should be seen by those suffering similar fates, this personal film comes out as more universal to all.


Directed by Barbara Hammer

Who is Maya Deren and what is supposed to be so special about her sink?  Well, that is what Hammer’s art experimental film will let you know.  When her sink was about to be tossed out, she figurers that the broken sink would have camera aesthetic qualities, and so the audience is ‘treated’ with several different shots of the sink. In the process, the audience learns more about Maya, the bigger than life figure, who eventually died from a brain explosion from too many green drugs.  Hammer’s film is an explosive journey, full of timely musings, poetry and superimposed shot with the players often talking through hung pictures on the TV.  Maya Deren is also an experimental filmmaker and the two make a good match on screen.


Directed by Barbara Hammer

This is Hammer’s best film, according to Hammer herself.  Barbara Hammer''s first feature-length film is a taboo-busting provocation, a politically charged polemic and a rapturous visual ode to the sensual pleasures of love and intimacy.  Her film examines with graphic exploration and detail, 4 very different couples – a male inetrracila couple, two very elderly lesbians, a S and M and a coloured couple.  She also looks at lebians during the Third Reich in concentration camps.  But her main concern or topic here is the lost of information in history as people hide away from the truth.  Her film contains exquisite images an poetry and her film is nothing short of forgettable.  Her scene with the senior lesbians French kissing with tongue is quite the sight to behold.

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