Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground
by Chuck Smith, USA 2018, 78'
PHOTOGRAPHY: Andy Bowley   PRODUCER: Chuck Smith, Elizabeth Sheldon
EDITING: Chuck Smith   LANGUAGE: Vo: english; sub: Italian 

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film
   Presented at Lo schermo dell'arte 2019

The experimental film Christmas on Earth caused a sensation at its New York premiere in 1964. The orgy scenes and the split and overlapping images upset the artistic conventions of the time and announced a new and powerful voice of the city’s underground film scene. The disturbing visions were those of an 18-year-old girl, Barbara Rubin. An eclectic figure ahead of her time, a rebellious woman in a man’s world, Rubin embodied the artistic spirit of the 1960s. She introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground, turned Bob Dylan on to the Kabbalah, and bewitched Allen Ginsberg. She converted to orthodox Judaism and raised her children in that tradition before her mysterious death at 35. Her filmmaker friend Jonas Mekas kept her letters. Director Chuck Smith drew from Mekas’ archive to create this portrait of a great forgotten artist. The film’s music is curated by former Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo.

Chuck Smith 

Director, producer and writer, he has produced documentaries and TV series for many networks and cable stations. Most recently he worked as a producer for Vanity Fair Confidential. Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground is his directorial debut.


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