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Portraits and the Sky: Yugoslav Experimental Films, 1960s–1990s
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Berkley, California, USA
27. October 2020 - 29. October 2020

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curators: Petra Belc, Pavle Levi


Portraits are typically frontal — they put their subjects on display and invite viewers to look at them directly. By contrast, the experimental cinematic portraits and self-portraits presented in this program revel in multiplication of points of view and in decentered, even disjointed, depiction of people and places. Culled from the rich history of avant-garde filmmaking in Yugoslavia (1945–1991), diverse in aim, approach, and aesthetic sensibility, these works—some of which are extremely rare—showcase the unique power of cinema to probe the relationship between intimacy and exteriority as they creatively meander between observation and imagination; the face, the mind, and the body; the self and its abandonment. Bringing together established artists and lesser-known cine-amateurs, while foregrounding women filmmakers’ paramount though largely underappreciated contributions to Yugoslavia’s vibrant experimental scene, this on-screen portrait gallery is framed by two minimalist landscape films. The sky is the limit.

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