Cosmic futures film series
Cosmic futures at the Art Gallery of New South Wales: landmarks of Soviet cinema on 35mm film
Cosmic futures, the latest in the free film series at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is a rare opportunity to see visionary Russian cinema in conjunction with the exhibition Masters of modern art from the Hermitage.
Featuring the best of early space-age Soviet cinema, a mini-Andrei Tarvkosky retrospective and recent landmarks from Andrey Zvyagintsev (Loveless), Cosmic futures unites audience favourites with new discoveries from beyond the canon.
Cosmic futures takes its cue from Masters of modern art from the Hermitage which captures the idealism and confidence of artists – such as Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and Gauguin – as they freed themselves from tradition and inspired their Russian contemporaries Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky.
In 1915 Malevich’s Black square (on view in Masters of modern art from the Hermitage) heralded a beginning and end for modern art. Cosmic futures asks where to from here? Malevich’s impulse to free art from the ‘dead weight of the real world’ migrated from the black square to the white screen – a new utopian state needed a new film language.
Created by AGNSW curator of film, Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd, the Cosmic futures film series opens on Sunday 4 November with a special screening of the first Soviet sci-fi film Aelita: Queen of Mars accompanied by a newly commissioned live score by acclaimed Sydney electronic artist, Lucy Cliché.
“In the wake of the Russian Revolution in 1917, cinema became a new testing ground for bold aesthetic experimentation. Aelita is a marvel of constructivist set design, gleaming antennae and metallic bras. It inspired Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and remains a dazzling big screen experience” Arrowsmith-Todd said.
Revolutionary energy spills over in the formal daring of Dziga Vertov (Man with a movie camera) and the screwball humour of Alexander Medvedkin’s rarely-screened comedy New Moscow.
“Audience favourites will screen alongside important rediscoveries by leading female filmmakers including Larisa Shepitko and Chantal Akerman,” Arrowsmith-Todd said.
Cosmic futures also offers Sydneysiders an unmissable three-week Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective on stunning-35mm prints.
“If you’ve never seen Tarkovsky’s masterpieces Stalker and Solaris on 35mm on the big screen, don’t miss this chance,” Arrowsmith-Todd said.
The film series concludes with an opportunity for audiences to reflect on contemporary Russian society courtesy of renowned auteur, Andrey Zvyagintsev.
“Zvyagintsev is the spiritual successor of Tarkovsky. The Return and Leviathan are powerful meditations on life in Russia today,” Arrowsmith-Todd said.
|Cosmic futures opening film event: Aelita x Lucy Cliché
|Silent film with live music accompaniment
Don’t miss this rare chance to see Aelita: Queen of Mars 1924 on the silver screen, with a newly commissioned live score by acclaimed Sydney electronic artist Lucy Cliché.
The first Soviet sci-fi film is an extravagant utopian fantasy. In Moscow, all radio stations receive a mysterious transmission: ‘Anta… Odeli… Uta’. This cryptic message leads engineer Los (Tsereteli) to begin work on a spaceship. Los fantasises about travelling to Mars, falling in love with its queen Aelita (Solntseva) and leading a Marxist-Martian revolution. Alexandra Exter’s cubo-futurist costumes and Isaac Rabinovich’s constructivist sets are a marvel of geometric forms, gleaming antennae and metallic bras.
In the weeks leading to the film’s premiere in 1924, leaflets with the mysterious missive ‘Anta… Odeli… Uta’ fell from the Moscow skies. The PR stunt paid off. Aelita was a box-office hit before succumbing to the Soviet censors who banned the film as ‘alien to the working class’. The film inspired Fritz Lang’s Metropolis 1927 and remains a dazzling cinematic experience.
This is the opening event of the new film series, Cosmic futures, in conjunction with the exhibition Masters of modern art from the Hermitage.
Sunday 4 November 2018, 2pm
4 Nov – Aelita: Queen of Mars (dir. Yakov Protazanov, 1924, 35mm)*
7/11 Nov – Russian ark (dir. Alexander Sokurov, 2002, 35mm)
9/13 Jan – Stalker (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979, 35mm)
*Silent film with live music; ticketed event ($12 concession, member / $15 adult)
Masters of modern art from the Hermitage
13 October 2018 – 3 March 2019
Masters of modern art from the Hermitage at the Art Gallery of New South Wales presents a magnificent selection of works from the towering figures of modern art. Drawn from the unparalleled collections of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the exhibition captures the ebullience, idealism and confidence of artists as they freed themselves from tradition.
Exploring the origins of modern art, from the bold experiments of Cézanne, to the radical innovation of artists like Matisse and Picasso, this exhibition documents the seismic shifts that took place in European painting in the years after 1900 and encapsulates a defining moment in art history.