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Notes on Marie Menken (DVD)


by Martina Kudlacek

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What might already be familiar are anecdotes relating to a shining figure of the American underground who was the inspiration for one of Edward Albee's plays. In its search for the complex wife of Willard Maas, Notes on Marie Menken enters unfamiliar terrain. This portrait, subtly constructed from the accounts of contemporaries and forgotten archival material, illuminates a previously underestimated protagonist of New York's avant-garde in fragments. The honest reverence of someone who was younger at the time demonstrates the extend of Marie Menken's attraction. Gerard Malanga, a founding member of the Factory, describes the artist from an adopted son's point of view, and both Jonas Mekas and Stan Brackage have claimed that she was a central source of aesthetic inspiration.

Beginning in the 1940s Menken captured in her filmic glimpses the momentary and the everyday by concentrating on reflections of light, colors, forms and textures. And so she was one of the first to make use of the Bolex's camera's temporal elasticity in avant-garde film. A sense of dance-like rhythm, lighting and details is demonstrated in Arabesques for Kenneth Anger in particular, which Kudlacek's homage shows in its entirety.

"Notes on Marie Menken provides an idea of Menken's highly developed feel for tactile and optical effects by portraying her as a visual artist who concentrated on collage. Her camerawork clear and sensitive, Martina Kudlacek also permits the materiality of the archive and the bodies of eyewitnesses to speak. As the result the Notes on Menken are also inscribed with their own production process: viewing, winding and selection, room for playfulness and doubt." - Christa Blumlinger

The feature length documentary film In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2001) was Martina Kudlacek first international success. She also works as a researcher for Anthology Film Archives, assisting in preservation projects with the director and Filmmaker Jonas Mekas. Born 1965 in Vienna. University of Vienna - Theatre Studies and German Philology. Film and TV Academy (FAMU) Prague, Camera and Documentary Directing. 1995 Masters Degree in Documentary Directing.

For private domestic use only, please contact INDEX directly for institutional orders.

  • 20 pages booklet with exclusive material, bilingual English-German text.
  • Bonus material:
    • 4 Films by Marie Menken:
    • Visual Variations on Noguchi, 1945, 4 min
    • Arabesque for Kenneth Anger, 1958-61, 4 min
    • Glimpse of the Garden, 1957, 5 min
    • Lights, 1964-66, 6 min 30 sec
Additional Information
More Information
SKU 9120020380300
Product contents 1 disc
Year 1945-2006 (DVD 2008)
Director Kudlacek, Martina
Format DVD
Publisher(s) INDEX DVD Edition
Countries Austria/USA
Colour Colour + B&W
Language(s) English
Running time 106 min 3 sec
DVD region 0, PAL
Certificate N/a
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