Great new press for the Nina Menkes retro and a radio interview, click to follow links:
“Rhythmic, haunting meditations on violence and misogyny…“
two short films and five features
with three new film prints graciously restored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
including her rarely seen first short film A SOFT WARRIOR
UCLA at The Billy Wilder Theater:
Feb 18: DISSOLUTION (2010)
Feb 19: QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991) and THE GREAT SADNESS OF ZOHARA (1983, 40 min, new print)
Feb 24: MAGDELENA VIRAGA (1986, new print) and A SOFT WARRIOR (1981, 11 min, new print)
March 2: THE BLOODY CHILD (1996)
March 7: PHANTOM LOVE (2007)
Anthology Film Archives, NYC:
DISSOLUTION (2010, one week only)
March 9 at 7:00 PM
March 10 at 4:30 PM
March 11 at 3:00 PM
March 12 at 7:00 PM
March 13 at 7:00 PM
March 14 at 9:00 PM
March 15 at 9:00 PM
THE BLOODY CHILD (1996)
March 9 at 9:00 PM
March 11 at 7:00 PM
March 15 at 7:00 PM
THE GREAT SADNESS OF ZOHARA (1983, 40 min, new print)
preceded by A SOFT WARRIOR (1981, 11 min, new print)
March 10 at 3:00 PM
March 11 at 9:00 PM
MAGDALENA VIRAGA (1986, new print)
March 10 at 6:30 PM
March 12 at 9:00 PM
QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991)
March 10 at 8:30 PM
March 13 at 9:00 PM
PHANTOM LOVE (2007)
March 11 at 5:00 PM
March 16 at 7:00 PM
MASSAKER (2005, rarely seen feature documentary co-directed by Menkes)
March 14 at 7:00 PM
March 16 at 9:00 PM
New York City premiere
one week run at Anthology Film Archives, March 9–15
Israel, 2010, 88 minutes
HDCAM, in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by Nina Menkes
Starring Didi Fire
HITPARKUT (Dissolution) combines an almost surreal fairy-tale energy with brutal black and white realism to explore the condition of violence which permeates contemporary Israeli society. Shot in Yafo (the predominantly Arab area of Tel Aviv) in summer 2009, the movie follows the moral collapse and first glimmer of redemption, of a young, morose Israeli Jew, played brilliantly by non-actor DIDI FIRE.
Inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Nina Menkes returns to Israel, the site of some of her earlier work, and continues her exploration of sumptuous, digital black-and-white as a metaphor for the dark corners of the human psyche. She also takes a giant step by focusing on a male character (nonprofessional actor Didi Fire) who is both the subject of his own tale and an object of desire for the camera, subverting the tropes of cinematic discourse. Shot in Yafo, the predominantly Arab area of Tel Aviv, the movie follows the moral collapse and first glimmer of redemption of a morose young Israeli Jew who murders a female pawnbroker. Menkes weaves realistic views with surreal images to suggest a dialectic of violence: one man’s alienation and spiritual journey versus the war mentality that permeates contemporary Israeli society and the devaluation of the feminine within a context of intra-ethnic hostility. Hitparkut won the Anat Pirchi Award for Best Drama at the 2010 Jerusalem International Film Festival.
Variety article on Nina’s retrospective.
WINNER: Best Drama in Israeli Cinema, Jerusalem Int’l Film Festival, 2010.
IN GIVING THE PRIZE, THE INTERNATIONAL JURY CITED THE FILM’S BOLD CINEMATIC LANGUAGE, PROFOUND CONTENT, BEAUTIFUL CINEMATOGRAPHY, ORIGINAL USE OF SOUND AND EXCEPTIONAL ACTING.
“DAZZLING!…DISSOLUTION, A KIND OF EXISTENTIAL FILM NOIR IS RICH IN EVOCATIVE IMAGERY–ITS INSPIRED, CONFOUNDING FINAL MOMENTS ARE AS ASTONISHING AS THEY ARE PRECISE…GENIUS!” –Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
“IN THE 25 YEARS SINCE HER FIRST FEATURE, MAGDALENA VIRAGA, NINA MENKES HAS REMAINED ONE OF THE FEW AMERICAN DIRECTORS WORKING AT FEATURE LENGTH WHOSE FILMS — IN BOTH FORM AND THOUGHT — ARE GENUINELY RADICAL. MENKES’ MAIN PREOCCUPATION ACROSS HER SIX FILMS (INCLUDING PHANTOM LOVE AND HER LATEST WORK, DISSOLUTION, WHICH SCREEN AT THE DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT THIS WEEK) IS VIOLENCE IN ALL ITS FORMS, AND HER APPROACH, OBLIQUE YET INTUITIVE, HAS YIELDED RESULTS THAT HAVE MORE TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT THAN ANY AMERICAN DIRECTOR SINCE PECKINPAH OR CASSAVETES.” – Phil Coldiron, LA Weekly
“A SENSORY REVELATION” –Mark Peranson, Vancouver International Film Festival
“DISTINGUISHED BY AN AUTHENTICALLY SURREALIST AESTHETIC AND A FASCINATION WITH WOMEN IN EXTREME EMOTIONAL STATES, MENKES’ FILMS ARE SUI GENERIS AMONG AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS, YET DISTINCT FROM WHAT MIGHT BE FACILELY LABELED “EUROPEAN” STYLE. – Robert Koehler, Variety
“ONE OF THE YEAR’S TOP FIVE FILMS!” – Barbara Wurm, SIGHT AND SOUND
” ‘DISSOLUTION’ HAS TRACES OF BELA TARR’S ‘SATANTANGO’ ENTWINED WITH SHAKESPEARE’S ‘MACBETH’– WHERE THEMES OF MORALITY HAUNT ONE’S PSYCHE WITH POETRY AND STRIKING VISUALITY… RELEVANT AND COURAGEOUS, ACCENTED WITH HER USUAL TOUCHES OF CINEMATIC SORCERY AND PROFOUND DEDICATION– IT IS A LOOK AT A MALE CHARACTER AND PLACE USUALLY OUTCAST BY THE MOVIES– MACHISMO, BRAVADO, AND ROMANTICISM ARE GONE. THE STRONG HERO AUDIENCES RELY ON HAS VANISHED AND HIS MASK HAS COME OFF.” –Natasha Subramaniam, THE HUFFINGTON POST
“NINA MENKES CONTINUES HER EXPLORATION OF SUMPTUOUS, BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A METAPHOR FOR THE DARK CORNERS OF THE HUMAN PSYCHE…FOCUSING ON A MALE CHARACTER WHO IS BOTH THE SUBJECT OF HIS OWN TALE AND AN OBJECT OF DESIRE FOR THE CAMERA, THUS SUBVERTING THE TROPES OF CINEMATIC DISCOURSE… MENKES WEAVES REALISTIC VIEWS WITH SURREAL IMAGES TO SUGGEST A DIALECTIC OF VIOLENCE: ONE MAN’S ALIENATION AND SPIRITUAL JOURNEY VERSUS THE WAR MENTALITY THAT PERMEATES CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI SOCIETY AND THE DEVALUATION OF THE FEMININE WITHIN A CONTEXT OF INTRA-ETHNIC HOSTILITY.” –Berenice Reynaud, REDCAT, Los Angeles
“DIDI FIRE’s PERFORMANCE IS BRILLIANT…MENKES’S UNCLASSIFIABLE CINEMA, WHOSE FASCINATION LIES IN THE INTERPLAY AMONG CHARACTERS, SPACE, AND FILMMAKER, IS TRULY ALL HER OWN. EXTRAORDINARY AND ORIGINAL!” –Chris Fujiwara, BOSTON PHOENIX
Los Angeles, Downtown Independent
(double feature with PHANTOM LOVE on June 4 and 5)
Menkes’s films have shown widely in major international film festivals including Sundance, Rotterdam, Locarno, London, Viennale, San Francisco, Berlin, Cairo, Toronto,as well as at La Cinematheque Francaise, The British Film Institute, the ICA in London, the Beijing Film Academy in China, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, MOCA and LACMA in Los Angeles. Menkes’ many honors include a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Annenberg Foundation Independent Media Grant, an American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award, three Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowships and two Senior Fulbright Research Awards—one to the Middle East/North Africa, and one to India. In addition, her work has been listed on many periodicals “Top Ten Films of the Year” lists, including Film Comment and, repeatedly, The Los Angeles Times. Her feature length, experimental documentary shot in Beirut, Lebanon, MASSAKER, about the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, premiered at the Berlinale in 2005 and received a FIPRESCI Award. Menkes’ latest feature film—the award-winning black and white drama PHANTOM LOVE, premiered at Sundance 2007 to critical raves, and has continued to show world-wide to significant acclaim.
Menkes’ work shows theatrically, and has also been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, as well as on WDR German Television and other foreign networks. Retrospectives of her work have shown in Los Angeles and most European capitals.
Nina Menkes has an MFA with high honors from the UCLA Film School. She has taught film directing at the USC film school and at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)—India’s premiere film academy. She currently teaches at California Institute of the Arts and is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
official website: Dissolution
© 2013 Cinemad Presents