I saw Lars von Trier’s film Breaking the Waves when it was released in theaters in 1996. Even though it featured stellar acting and was filled to the brim with gut-wrenching drama, what I remember most are the transporting bits of film used as chapter stops. Imagine my delight when I learned that Per Kirkeby is responsible for them. It wasn’t his first, or last, foray in to film. We’re featuring his 1970 film Deer Garden: The Romantic Forest in our current exhibition. He’s also worked with von Trier on Dancer in the Dark (which we are screening in December, along with Breaking the Waves) and Antichrist.
In Breaking the Waves, the story is presented in chapters, like a novel, and each is introduced with chapter number and name during an interlude of a landscape backed by a 1970s pop song. The views are spectacular. The one for chapter two has stayed with me most, and I’ve often daydreamed of being there, where ever that is. I had never thought to look up Kirkeby’s titles online to see if they had been captured on their own, and of course they have been. The image quality in the YouTube versions isn’t as beautiful as watching the movie in the theater, but you can still see the incredible shifting northern European light and lush land. On the big screen, they are enveloping. Watching them now after becoming better acquainted with Kirkeby’s painting, I certainly see the resonance. The lovely scene for the epilogue of a creek rushing under the arch of a stone bridge can’t help but bring to mind his painting Dark Cave (The Dream about Uxmal and the Unknown Grottos of Yucatan) (1967).
Last night, a curious audience sat down in our auditorium to screen ten videos–the jury-selected finalists of the Snapshot Home Movie Contest. Afterwards, one by one, audience members dropped a red ticket into one of ten boxes, each marked with the name of a finalist.The video with the most red tickets would win the “crowd favorite” title along with a slate of great prizes, including exposure during the DC Shorts Film Festival.
Meet the winner, Marie McGrory, a student at The George Washington University. Watch her video below, which she created during her recent spring break. Marie filmed virtually everything that happened at her family’s New York home that week, and edited her footage down to a final story that focuses on the importance of food in her family and their St. Patrick’s Day traditions. As jury-member and Washington Post Style Blog writer Maura Judkis observes, Marie’s delightful parents make incredibly compelling characters.
With the exhibition Francesca Woodmanat the Guggenheim in New York through June 14 and the post-impressionists’ deeply personal experiments with the camera on view in our own galleries through May 6, we couldn’t resist showing C. Scott Willis’s award-winning documentary The Woodmans (2010). The screening will take place this Saturday, April 14, at 1 pm, and audience members will have the chance to chat with the director after the film. Last week, a few Phillips staff members sat down to watch the documentary (which took home Best New York Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 and Washingtonians may remember it from Silverdocs that same year). By all accounts, the film is so packed with artwork, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve attended an exhibition.