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Notes on Marie Menken
Directed by Martina Kudlacek
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Martina Kudlacek, director of the critically acclaimed "In the Mirror of Maya Deren," brings us the story of Marie Menken (1909-1970), one of New York's outstanding underground filmmakers, who inspired and worked with renowned artists Andy Warhol, Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Kenneth Anger and Gerard Malanga, and became known as "the mother of the avant-garde."

Originally an abstract painter and collage artist, Menken produced nearly two dozen experimental shorts, gracefully using a hand-held Bolex camera to create rhythmic patterns of light, color, form and texture, and compose exquisite visual poems. Rich in excerpts of Menken's work, the film also features the rare and fascinating footage of "The Duel of the Bolexes" she conducted with Andy Warhol on a New York rooftop.

The large, loud and tempestuous Menken, whose volatile relationship with husband Willard Maas reportedly inspired Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, became a Warhol superstar making memorable appearances in The Life of Juanita Castro and The Chelsea Girls.

Featuring interviews with Jonas Mekas, Kenneth Anger, Gerard Malanga, Peter Kubelka, Alfred Leslie, Billy Name, and the Chelsea Girls star Mary Woronov.

"Salient details and observations; [a] welcome ray of light on a largely forgotten figure in the American avant-garde film scene." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

"[A] Handsome tribute… Interviews with various avant-garde luminaries help to excavate Menken's memory and reputation from the footnotes of film history while clips and entire reels of her rarely seen oeuvre are intercut. Beautifully transferred clips." Variety

"A stirring resurrection of a fascinating figurenothing short of mandatory viewing for avant-garde aficionados." The New York Sun

"Brings back to life the work of Marie Menken, and rescues her from the margins of cinematic history, restoring her to a position as one of experimental cinema's foremost, and most pioneering, feminist filmmakers." Film and History

2006 Tribeca International Film Festival
2006 Rotterdam International Film Festival

97 minutes / Color
Release: 2007
Copyright: 2006

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Subject areas:
American Studies, Art, Biographies, Cinema Studies, History (U.S.), On 35mm, Photography, Women's Studies

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