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Trent Film Society

gerontophilia-003
THE TROY BORDUN VISITING CANADIAN
FILMMAKER: BRUCE LABRUCEFILM SCREENING + SEMINARFILM SCREENING:Gerontophilia
2014, Canada, 82 minutes, Rated 14A
Market Hall, 140 Charlotte Street
Thursday, February 25, 8PM
FREE and open to the public
Bruce LaBruce will be in attendance for a Q&A

The fact that “Gerontophilia” is immediately palatable is what makes its creators’ perspective that much more inviting. This is a comedy that encourages viewers to be impulsive, and pointedly seek love and acceptance outside of “normal” social institutions, especially when it comes to family and romance. It’s about cherishing impulsivity over introspection, and amassing life experiences without fear of negative consequences.

“Gerontophilia” is enjoyable because it has softer edges that do nothing to diminish its hard core. It’s an inclusive comedy that is also radical in its insistence that you don’t need to distinguish between what your head and your groin want.
(Simon Abrams, rogerebert.com)

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SEMINAR WITH BRUCE LABRUCE:

Senior Common Room, Scott House
Traill College, 310 London Street
Friday, February 26, 10AM
FREE and open to the public
A bevy of snacks and beverages will be provided by BE Catering

LaBruce will discuss his extensive work in Canadian cinema, the transition from celluloid to digital, social media tactics, and the role of pornography in his films.

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Generously supported by Trent Film Society, Traill College, Canadian Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, English Literature, and Cultural Studies (Trent University), Trent Queer Collective, Peterborough Pride, Trent Graduate Student Association, and BE Catering

Of Pornology, promo To Conference, promo

“We can always smuggle in the frivolous but under what conditions is frivolity possible? The form of this question lets itself be disintegrated simply by the very semblance of its object.”

-Jacques Derrida

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015, 7pm – 10pm, Scott House, Bagnani Hall, & Wallis Hall, Traill College, 310 London Street, Peterborough, ON

Reception and Q&A with Dylan Cree and Dimitrios Otis at The Trend at 8:30pm

Hosted by Traill College with support from the Cultural Studies Undergraduate Program & Trent Film Society

Generally thought, from the aftermath of conceptual art was born the concept of institutional critique, and with it, research-based artistic practice. The influence of this approach on contemporary art has in many turns reframed methodology and the terrain of artistic labour. The notion that artists should develop and distribute forms of “criticality” and knowledge to be justified within contemporary institution has become a central value to current artistic administration.

The two video works, To Conference: Faux Pas in Perpetuity and Of Pornology effectively perform and critique the underbelly of academic processes. Of Pornology, a 21-minute video, is organized around a members-only strategy meeting on the study of porn for the purposes of boosting the academic profile of The Institution for Abortive Techniques in MetaTheoretics. To Conference, a multi-part looped video, is a pranking of post-modernist tropes and analyses that takes its form as a series of fictionalized interviews with cultural theorist and founder of publishing house Semiotext(e) Sylvère Lotringer. Cree aims to make visible the complex rules and the construction of space for protocols of institutional practices. Further, be it in relationship to the intricacies of these theories or the politics of the abject, his work, in its form of multi-projected images, relentlessly confronts its viewer by stretching and destroying the boundaries/forms/good taste of the academic interview as a documentary genre. The viewer is also challenged with the fatiguing tasks of following complex dialogues about the status of knowledge-production found in scholarly interrogations. Scholarly investigations aside, Cree’s works are first and foremost satire.

Dylan Cree is a PhD candidate in the department of Communication Studies at Simon Fraser University. He did undergraduate work at Trent University in the mid 80’s prior to completing a BA in philosophy at the University of British Columbia followed by a MFA in Contemporary Arts at SFU. Alongside his academic pursuits he has produced films, videos, a conference and texts which self-reflexively explore the limits of these mediums as spaces of critical theoretical engagement.

Dimitrios Otis is an actor in To Conference. He graduated from Trent University in Cultural Studies. He is best known for his “porn archeology” activities in unearthing and releasing lost X-rated films such as Ed Wood’s last movie The Young Marrieds and Canada’s only hardcore feature Sexcula. He is currently seeking a publisher for his novel Recipe: The Season of Primal Food, a radical “refinement” of the Marquis De Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom.

Curated by Troy Bordun.

I’m furious about recent developments involving Jennifer Lawrence. She has worked hard to establish herself as an A-List actress and this did not happen overnight. Now the internet wants access to her body for free.

Illegally downloading films and images needs to stop. Internet users are flooding the internet with images of Lawrence in David O. Russell’s American Hustle (2013). In this film Lawrence wears several revealing outfits and images such as the below are easily accessible to anyone with a web browser.

jennifer_lawrence_american_hustle_i0OnpSF1.sized Jennifer-Lawrence-american-hustle-A2_zps8cbc8898

These images must be paid for by consumers. Russell and Lawrence did not intend for us to freely access the film – both director and actress took time and energy to create this film and we should pay to see it. But Jennifer’s body isn’t merely for aesthetic pleasure: her character Rosalyn was dressed to highlight certain qualities of that character. Thus any viewing of the film or sexy image is not only out of context, but is clearly theft.

Lawrence labored in the making of American Hustle. Throughout her career she has crafted a particular image of angelic purity, whether as Katniss or Rosalyn, even if the latter has a bit of edge. Images such as the above break our preconceived notions of that purity: Katniss would never pose so sensually, nor would we like to believe that the actress portraying fictional characters has anything like a sex life. Lawrence would like to maintain this facade – her career depends on it and we as her faithful fans want such out of context, and stolen, images taken down from websites.

If actresses choose to show their bodies, and the producers intend for audiences to pay a fee to see the star’s body, anything less than the full price of a theater ticket (or DVD rental) is unethical. I know I wouldn’t want my images stolen by internet perverts. Clearly I can understand Lawrence’s plight because I wouldn’t want my privacy breached, and further, I wouldn’t want my images circulating the internet and global news. I can imagine myself getting such press and attention due to my success and fame. In fact, as I am imagining myself as a celebrity figure, I feel a great sense of pathos with Lawrence.

The following flow chart can help you decide if illegally downloading movies is the right choice:

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NB: This is satire if that wasn’t clear.

It suggests that the debate about Lawrence’s privacy is misguided, and crazy. The questions we should be asking are: what are our relationship to celebrities, what kind of product is being sold to us (“Jennifer Lawrence”), and how do we consume the product “Jennifer Lawrence.”

Our response to hacked photos, as an invasion of privacy, is really our response to poor labor practices: since we accept that celebrities can show their bodies onscreen for a fee, and we subsequently fill the internet with these images, what we are really upset about is that Lawrence was not ready (and not paid) to present her nudity for public consumption. We know that A list celebrities reserve their nudity for art cinema, not cell phone pics. (Cf. Scarlet Johansson in Under the Skin [2013], for a recent example.)

Video: Stags, Sexploitation, and Hard Core

The link to the above video is a teaser for an exhibition I am curating on pornography up to 1972.

Thursday, August 28th – Saturday, August 30th, 12pm-6pm

Artspace, 378 Aylmer Street North, Peterborough, ON

vlcsnap-2014-07-21-21h55m04s154The 1920s was a booming decade for moving-image pornography. 10 to 20 minute films were shot and then screened at stags, thus the name, stag films. Oftentimes the players in these shorts were prostitutes and their johns, or filmmakers and their friends – the films are therefore made anonymously. What is interesting about them is the lack of differentiation between the sexual act as such, real penetration for instance, and the performance of sexual acts. We see in a number of these films that men do not get erections or cannot remain erect for the duration of the shoot. What mattered most, it seems, is sex in any shape or form; or, put differently, the reality and/or the illusion of persons doing things otherwise private. At times the mise-en-scene was elaborate – nuns, teachers – while at others a man “picks up” a woman and has sex. But even in this latter case some kind of narrative unfolds. Even anonymous sex, shot and performed for the enjoyment of a group of men, needs a story. The clips are edited from The Good Old Naughty Days, available from Strand Releasing.

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Swedish Marriage Manual, aka Language of Love

The period from about 1956 to 1972 offered a number of soft-core pictures to the public. These films, from The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) to Swedish Marriage Manual (1968) and many European art films, were generally accessible. While sex was implied or, in the case of some art films, not shown with maximum visibility (as Linda Williams calls it), simple displays of nudity saturated the big screen. Even in films such as Sweetback (1971), the simulated sex is boring – Sweetback doesn’t dare use his sweetback too quickly. Stag films, even when obviously faking the sexual act, were energetic. There was something about the projection of movement that was, in itself, fascinating to watch.

Boys in the Sand

Boys in the Sand

In the early 1970s, films such as Mona (1970), Boys in the Sand (1971), Deep Throat (1972), and Behind the Green Door (1972) brought hard core sex to the screens. Explicit cinematic sex finally became a commodity in its own right, and in the case of Deep Throat, men and women began to take an interest. However, Deep Throat tried to downplay its explicitness with humor while the interracial and orgiastic Green Door used special effects and a hypnotizing score to bring sex into the realm of art.

Pornography today is a far departure from any works of the prior decades. Or, if we prefer, contemporary pornography has taken something from each of the three periods identified: the vigor and energy of the stags; the beautiful bodies of sexploitation flicks; and the explicitness and maximum visibility of 1970s hard core.

Video: Stags, Sexploitation, and Hard Core