POSTED ON Oct 1, 2015 BY Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Barbara Hammer is a visual artist primarily working in film and video. Her work reveals and celebrates marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told. Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages an audience viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change. She is most well-known for making the first explicit lesbian film in 1974, Dyketactics, and for her trilogy of documentary film essays on queer history Nitrate Kisses (1992), Tender Fictions (1995), History Lessons, (2000).
Welcome To This House, her new feature documentary on the poet Elizabeth Bishop, was funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013-14). It is a feature documentary film on the homes and loves of poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), about life in the shadows, and the anxiety of art making without full self-disclosure. Hammer filmed in Bishop’s ‘best loved homes’ in the US, Canada, and Brazil believing that buildings and landscapes bear cultural memories. Interviews with poets, friends, and scholars provide “missing documents” of numerous female lovers. Bishop’s intimate poetry is beautifully performed by Kathleen Chalfant and with the creative music composition by Joan La Barbara brings Bishop into our lives with new facts and unexpected details.
"In 2010 I was thinking about a film on Cape Cod comparing the landscapes around the places I had lived during summer months, the old dune shacks and the modern houses that are being rebuilt. I realized I needed a human figure for physical and emotional scale to populate the architecture and the geography. The poet Elizabeth Bishop had lived both at a girls youth camp in Wellfleet and as a young adult in the Province Lands dune shacks of her friends....
...Bishop was in the closet to the outside world, but she seemed to have as many lovers as she had homes. I glove trotted on her trail and found more and more female lovers emerging from interviews with friends, colleagues, critics and poets. Bishop was a lusty woman and I respect that, but writing openly of those experiences wasn't possible due to her need for privacy propelled by the homophobia of the times."
Screening: The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival October 15th at 5pm
Location: Northwest Film Forum
Run time: 79 minutes