Youth/Childhood

An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.

Film Folk, 2004

A young moviemaker discusses the horror film he hopes to open commercially. In the process he opens his lavish apartment to the hungry eyes and tummy of he who rots in the sidelights. During this discourse we feast on the vitality of youth as it restores life to the walking and digesting dead who bring maturity to both sacred and profane altars. Also along for the ride is a redheaded fleshpot in need of sudsy holy water for a good gargle.

The Turkish national anthem, regularly sung in schools on Mondays and Fridays, is recorded with Super-8 and video to capture the fragile links that tie young citizens to nationhood.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

 

five more minutes is an exploration of grief. Two women spend an afternoon recreating lost time. What begins as play-acting breaks open into a world where the tenderness and sorrow of having to say goodbye exist untempered.

Flat is Beautiful is an experimental live-action cartoon using masks, animation, subtitles, drawings, and dramatic scenes to investigate the psychic life of an androgynous eleven-year-old girl. Growing up in a working class neighborhood with her single mother and gay roommate, Taylor confronts the loneliness of living between masculine and feminine in a culture obsessed with defining gender difference. Shifting between black and white film and grainy pixelvision video, Flat is Beautiful explores the internal and external worlds of sad people.

A two-part study of the self-sustaining lifestyle of a communal farm in Vermont. 

Four Ikpeng children reply to a video-letter from the children of Sierra Maestra in Cuba, introducing their village, families, toys, celebrations, and ways of life with grace and lightheartedness. Curious to know about children from other cultures, they ask to continue the correspondence.

Direction and camera by Karané, Kumaré, and Natuyu Yuwipo Txicão; edited by Mari Corrê.

Shot in black and white Super 8, this lyrical short follows a wandering, disengaged youth through grey afternoons. German Song features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.

"There are two movies I saw on TV about boys who were taken from their families and then returned to them years later. One boy was on a fun spaceship for years and the other boy was kidnapped and molested. These boys were never the same again and they just couldn't re-integrate into the family. I saw these movies when I was little. I've often described them to people, always paired together.

Indians In Brazil is an educational series for Brazilian public schools that invites students to experience cultural diversity. Four teenagers are invited to discover a new world and participate in Indian daily life in two different communities. They show their emotions, curiosity and fears, and are surprised by their new friends.

Parnes moves further into her interrogation of horror genres and the art world, with their sometimes over-lapping cults of personality. Grappling with the danger of beauty without criticality, Hollywood Inferno takes the viewer through the alienating world of a teenager named Sandy, a modern-day Dante, and follows where her aspirations toward stardom lead her.

The plot of this colorful and episodic video drama concerns the gifted protégé of a war torn world who is granted a glimpse into the future by reading the imprinted impressions of human buttocks. At least that is what I think it is about. There are many loud sequences of inner and outer turmoil with pretty cast members being faithful to the weaving plot line as it spins its convoluted tale of exposed rear ends and dangling subplots. The pace is fast and painless as a parade of young people bring to life a story ripped from the pages of our most lurid, celebrity tabloids.

I Stare at You and Dream is a slice of life melodrama that journeys to the core of interrelationships. This film juxtaposes and links the lives of four people: the filmmaker, Susan Mogul; her friend, Rosie Sanchez; Rosie’s teenage daughter, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez; and Ray Aguilar; Susan’s-on-and-off boyfriend. Tender and unflinching, each character gradually reveals their desires, wounds, and romantic entanglements in the context of their everyday lives.

Shot in black and white, this rough-and-ready trilogy is about twin sisters who "act out" and act up in their own best interests. At the age when a young girl might discover her own sexuality, they explore themselves (and each other) in "games" and playtime together. In the three sections—"Icky and Kathy Find Liberty", "The Babysitter", and "Learning To Suck"—the girls engage in slightly illicit acts together. Being naughty can be fun!

With wit and humor, seven-year-old Kendra portrays ten female stereotypes, including an ingratiating Southern belle, a motorcycle-riding tough chick, and a simpering housewife. Under the rubric of playing dress-up, the video illustrates the pervasive, prescribed personalities available to women, and the early age at which girls recognize these choices. But, as outtakes reveal, spirited Kendra’s is infinitely more complex than the cardboard cut-outs she depicts.

"It may indeed be questioned whether we have any memories at all from our childhood: memories relating to our childhood may be all that we possess. Our childhood memories show us our earliest years not as they were, but as they appeared at the later periods when the memories were aroused. In these periods of arousal, the childhood memories did not, as people are accustomed to say, emerge; they were formed at that time. And a number of motives, with no concern for historical accuracy, had a part in forming them, as well as in the selection of the memories themselves."

A young girl buys a weird toy from a charity shop. She forms such an intense relationship with it that it develops special ways of communicating and a strange connection to her that seems to defy the laws of physics. As the situation escalates, it seems that repression is the only way forward. First conceived of as a kind of fairy tale that goes wrong, this is a piece about learning the “rules” of grown-up reality and an extrapolation of the consequences of “over-identifying” with toys. A digital video with digital video effects, live-action, and model/object animation.

A meditation on birth, silence and American cinema, sealed with a kiss.

The violent surgical act of a boy’s circumcision is contradicted by the peacefulness of his facial expression. Proud to join the world of men, the boy is trying his best to be brave. Yet can the passage to adulthood be that simple?

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

It Hurts, 2006

The repeatedly distorted, primate behaviour of an (ani)female carrying her baby, reflecting the pain and suffering provoked by the mother/child relationship.

Jollies, 1990

Benning gives a chronology of her crushes and kisses, tracing the development of her nascent sexuality. Addressing the camera with an air of seduction and romance, giving the viewer a sense of her anxiety and special delight as she came to realize her lesbian identity.

This title is also available on Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1.

On the vast Kazakhstan Steppes, nine 16-year-olds prepare to graduate from the Akkol orphanage. Rockets launched overhead from the nearby Cosmodrome inspire their dreams as they write about and perform their imagined future-selves. Guided by the nomadic spirit and natural beauty of the Steppes, the teens explore questions of time and truth in relation to the challenging reality of their lives.

These five short videos introduce Judy, a paper maché puppet who ruminates on her position in society. Like Judy, of the famous Punch and Judy puppet duo, Benning’s Judy seems to experience the world from the outside, letting things happen to her rather than making things happen around her.

This title is also available on Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 3.

La Mesa, 2018

La Mesa explores the intersections of memory, identity and queer desire. It recreates fragmented and romanticized stories of a childhood in rural Mexico as told by the artist’s father. These disjointed vignettes are interwoven with queered reenactments of scenes from popular culture. The artist casts himself in the old Mexican films and American Westerns he grew up watching with his family in California. He appears as the romantic lead opposite the male actors, including Pedro Infante, Mexican national hero and the filmmaker’s childhood crush.

Videotaped on August 13th 1972, this tape features a number of scenes shot for Lanesville TV, including the Videofreex at the Catskill Game Farm shooting footage of the animals. There are some oddball images… a woman on an exercise machine, and someone in a gorilla suit brushing their teeth. A man named Steve Toomie from Tannersville, NY talks about Mountaintop Youth Group’s performances. There is the horse riding competition in Hunter. A little girl asks, “Are you the Lanesville Television guy?” and then shows her horse ribbon to the camera.