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Learning about Contemporary Art through Audio-Visual Media

For the benefit of the students of the Accademia di Brera, but especially for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of contemporary art themes, the projection cycle unites nine films about some of the protagonists who’ve made their mark on the development of contemporary visual culture, and films made by artists who’ve chosen cinema as their means of expression.

The film series intends to include itself in the increasingly heated debate on the relationship between cinema and art. The exploration of the various ways in which the interweaving of these two visual expressive forms may lead to the discovery of a vibrant, rich interaction, made of interdependences, correspondences and appropriations. The aim is to show how the cinematic medium, like the written word, can be used to critically investigate and interpret the world of contemporary visual arts.

[tab title=”INFORMATIONS”]Sala Teatro dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera
Milan, May 10-13, 2011 – starting at 4 p.m.

All the films are shown in DVD format, in their original languages, with Italian subtitles.
At the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, Lo schermo dell’Arte Film Festival will offer a program of films from its archive, originally presented in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

[tab title=”PROGRAM”][accordion]
[accordion-item title=”May 10″][button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Megunica[/button]
by Lorenzo Fonda, Italy, 2008, 55’
An original film-diary of a journey of development and discovery taken towards the end of 2006 by well-known street artist Blu, along with director Lorenzo Fonda and friends Silvia Siberini (“Sibe”) and Ivan Merlo, through five Latin American countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina). The footage of Blu at work, and his extraordinary animation pieces, reflect the enthusiasm of the many people encountered and the vitality of the places the group visited.

[button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Jean Michel Basquiat. The Radiant Child[/button]
by Tamra Davis, USA, 2010, 90’
The film is based on a video-interview Tamra Davis did with her friend Jean-Michel Basquiat in the summer of 1986. To the beat of music by J. Ralph, and Adam Horovitz and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, friends, fellow-artists and art dealers (including Julian Schnabel, Annina Nosei and the director herself) tell their stories about the climate in which the Basquiat phenomenon occurred.

[accordion-item title=”May 11″][button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Le Ceneri di Pasolini[/button]
by Alfredo Jaar, 2009, 38’
An homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini, author of the famous poem cycle Le ceneri di Gramsci, which gives Alfredo Jaar’s work its title, the film hinges critically and poetically on the theme of awareness. Pasolini’s words, taken from interviews and film clips, appear extraordinarily prophetic of Italy’s current social and political realities.

[button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Episode 3 – Enjoy Poverty[/button]
by Renzo Martens, 2008, color, 90’
For two years, Dutch artist Renzo Martens traveled across the Democratic Republic of Congo videotaping the dramatic living conditions endured by most of the population. Provocative and controversial, the film revolves around the installation Enjoy Poverty Please, and narrates the artist’s attempt to teach the Congolese people to photograph their own poverty, thereby putting pressure on the mechanisms linked to the power of the image and communication, which is held, in those countries, by major Western news agencies.

[accordion-item title=”May 12″][button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Lobbyists[/button]
by Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, 2009, 19’
Among the works that won the Prix de Rome 2009, this video, taped between Brussels and Strasbourg, explores the activities of “lobbyists” whose aim is to influence the legislative activity of the European Parliament. In this genuine documentary film, Castro & Olafsson (who have been invited to represent Iceland in the next Venice Biennale, 2011), link their study of historic sources with current interviews and film segments.

[button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]The Anarchist Banker[/button]
by Jan Peter Hammer, 2010, 29’
Based on a story written by Fernando Pessoa in 1922, the film revisits the plot and dialogues in a contemporary key. Following the financial crash of 2008, a well-known American banker and the anchorman of a fictitious TV talk show confront each other in a subtle contest of logic and psychology whose aim is to investigate, through the character of the banker, whether it is possible to reconcile anarchy and a free market.

[button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]The Great Contemporary Art Bubble[/button]
by Ben Lewis, UK, 2009, 90’
British art critic and director Ben Lewis spent a whole year researching the workings of the international contemporary art market, starting with Sotheby’s auction of Damien Hirst’s works (September 2008). Through visits to auction houses, art fairs and galleries, encounters with famous artists and interviews with important dealers and millionaire collectors, this documentary reveals the unusual practices, speculation and secrets hidden behind the impenetrable phenomenon of the “Great Bubble”.

[accordion-item title=”May 13″][button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]The Woodmans[/button]
by C. Scott Willis, USA, 2010, 82’
Awarded “Best New York Documentary” at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Woodmans revolves around the work and character of photographer Francesca Woodman, and the story of her artistic family. C. Scott Willis reconstructs the artist’s profile–she died when she was only 22–alternating between film clips, photographs and excerpts from her diary and interviews with her mother Betty, father George and brother Charles.

[button link=”″ size=”small” target=”_blank” style=”light” lightbox=”true” color=”white”]Our City Dreams[/button]
by Chiara Clemente, USA, 2008, 85’
The director follows five famous women artists who’ve chosen New York as their workplace: Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic and Nancy Spero. Manhattan is the starting point for the five protagonists’ physical and mental journeys; they talk about their work and themselves in this film, which succeeds not only in capturing the extraordinary aspects of their lives, but also in making viewers reflect upon the artistic strength of the human experience in relationship to a place.