Other queer programming at the Images fest includes local luminary Aleesa Cohene, a skilled editor whose found-footage videos have a hypnotic power. She conjures up oppressive moods that seem to dwell just below the surface of the commercials, corporate training videos, bad movies and other mass cultural detritus that she cobbles together. Her short Ready To Cope generates a palpable sense of anxiety while examining how a climate of generalized fear keeps us all in line (9pm, Thu, Apr 12).
Portland-based Vanessa Renwick’s Portrait #2: Trojan is quite lovely. Immaculate 35mm shots show a nuclear power plant towering over a lush Pacific Northwest landscape — then comes the jaw-dropping climax, a potent sucker punch that reminds you how flimsy the system really is (5pm on Fri, Apr 6).
In the festival’s special anniversary Momentum lecture series, AGO photo-graphy curator Sophie Hackett (a former arts writer for Xtra) sits down with lesbian experimental film pioneer Barbara Hammer (7pm, Thu, Apr 12). Hammer started making films in the early 1970s, creating such classic and influential shorts as Menses and Dyketactics. They were some of the first films to explicitly deal with lesbian sexuality and lesbian-feminist political struggles, and to uncover hushed-up lesbian histories and biographies, especially of fellow artists (like Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, the subjects of her acclaimed recent feature Lover Other).
A committed radical in both form and politics, her feature-length works include the famed archival expedition Nitrate Kisses and, my personal favourite, Resisting Paradise. This perfect union of aesthetic beauty and leftist conviction was sparked by Hammer’s curiosity as to how Henri Matisse could continue painting during the Nazi occupation of France while his entire family was in the Resistance. Hammer’s conversation with Hackett is sure to be provocative.
Also be sure to check out other Momentum events featuring queer cinema icon John Greyson and honourary sissy Guy Maddin, who will be closing the festival with a celluloid show and tell alongside fellow silent-era buff Bill Morrison.