Cinematheque108 Presents: VOLUPTUOUS SLEEP with Filmmaker Betzy Bromberg
January 31, 2013, 7:00 P.M.
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Cinematheque108 invites you and a guest to a special screening of
moderated by SCA Professor David James
About Voluptuous Sleep (2011, 95 min., 16mm)
Betzy Bromberg’s Voluptuous Sleep (2011) is a mesmerizing two-part 16mm meditation on the nuances of light, sound and feeling as evoked through the poetic artifices of cinema. Bromberg’s close-up lens becomes a tool of infinite discovery that reveals as much about our bodily sensations as it does the natural world. Combined with intricate and perfectly matched soundtracks, Voluptuous Sleep is a rapturous, re-centering antidote to the fragmentation of modern life and offers a new experience of cinematic time and memory. It is also an emotional tour de force."
— Steve Anker (Redcat Program Notes)
"Betzy Bromberg’s Voluptuous Sleep is like a subterranean river reemerging into the light, extending and expanding the flux of images and sounds that had enchanted us in her previous film, a Darkness Swallowed. Again, the filmmaker introduces a caesura between two parts of unequal length. In the first (Language is a Skin), tactility becomes a metaphor for vision (or vision for tactility?); as we surrender to a rich tapestry of shapes, motions and hues – pitch black with glittering particles of white or yellow light, rich blue overtones, pale grey/green, fleeting patches of violet – their shimmering liquidity and constant reconfiguration make it impossible to fully grasp them; so we are tempted with an equally fluid desire to seek meaning in the verbal constructions that make our consciousness. The only “naming” that takes place, however, is that of the dark undertones of the sound-track, multiple layers of “musical objects” that bring the experience, beyond language, to another level of sensorial presence – and another level of abstraction.
Graced with the almost liturgical chords of a string quartet (two violins, a viola, a cello), the second part, And the Night Illuminated the Night brings echoes of François Couperin’s Leçons de Ténèbres (Lessons of Darkness) or the “night of the soul” experienced by the mystics – but also Nathaniel Dorsky’s reflection on the stained glasses in the medieval cathedrals, that carried “a sense that the source of illumination wasn’t outside ourselves, but that we were perhaps the source of that light, that our human experience might be compared to a luminous bubble suspended in darkness.
Bromberg delivers a true cinematic alchemy: her meticulous work on the physicality and tactile quality of the texture of the 16mm stock, its emulsion, layers and sensitivity to light, opens up toward a glimpse of the unknown, of the ineffable. The darkness is no longer “swallowed”; it is transmuted into radiant light."
— Berenice Reynaud (Redcat Program Notes)
"As with all of Bromberg’s films, there are images that, once seen, will stay with you forever, and then there are the colors – rich, luscious hues to be savored slowly… The film is also a gift to us, a reminder of cinema’s organic basis in chemistry and light, and of its ability to take us deep inside."
— Holly Willis, LA Weekly
About Betzy Bromberg
Betzy Bromberg, Director of the Program in Film and Video at California Institute of the Arts, has been making experimental films since 1976. Her newest film, Voluptuous Sleep (2011), premiered at the Redcat Theater in Los Angeles and had its festival premiere at the 2011 New York Film Festival: Views From The Avant-Garde. Voluptuous Sleep was listed as one of the Best Films for 2011 in both the New York Times (Manohla Dargis) and Indiewire (Andrea Picard). It recently won the Stan Brakhage award at the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Ms. Bromberg presented both Voluptuous Sleep and a Darkness Swallowed (2005) at the Guggenheim Bilbao (Spain) in fall, 2011. Voluptuous Sleep recently screened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI 2012), the Bradford International Film Festival (United Kingdom) and CinemaSpace at the Segal Centre of Performing Arts (Montreal) as part of Suoni per iI Popolo Avant-Garde Music Festival. Ms. Bromberg had a full retrospective of her films at BAFICI in 2007 where she was honored to have her work presented and screened at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) and other theaters. Her previous film, a Darkness Swallowed (2005) screened at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival as well as the Seoul Film Festival (South Korea), the Athens International Film Festival (Greece), the Bradford International Film Festival (England), the Seattle International Film Festival (Washington), The Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona (Spain) and most recently at Ponrepo (Prague, Czech Republic). Ms. Bromberg’s films have shown extensively in museums, cultural venues and festivals within the United States and abroad. Most notably, her work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the San Francisco Cinemateque, the Harvard Film Archives (Cambridge), Anthology Film Archives (New York City), the National Film Theater (London), The Vootrum Centrum (Belgium) and the Centre Georges Pompidou (France). Previous films have shown at the Rotterdam, London, Edinburgh, Sundance and Vancouver Film Festivals. Ms. Bromberg has also had retrospectives of her films at Film Forum (Los Angeles) and the Cinema Project (Portland).
Previous to becoming the Director of the Program in Film and Video California Institute of the Arts, Ms. Bromberg worked in the Hollywood special effects industry for many years as a supervisor and camerawoman for the production of optical effects in major motion pictures.
About the Moderator
DAVID E. JAMES, Chair/Professor of Critical Studies, USC School of Cinematic Arts
Taking any of David James' courses including History of the International Cinema and Cultural Theory, students have the distinction of learning from a professor who has achieved particular renown as an authority in Asian cinema and avant-garde cinema.
Dr. James has expanded and enriched the cultural scene in Los Angeles, curated countless film programs, worked on museum exhibitions, produced his own film work and published extensively in the arts and popular press, including his latest book The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles.
James’ awards include an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research.
He is the editor of To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground as well as The Hidden Foundation: Cinema and the Question of Class, and has served on the editorial boards of Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Now Time, and Art Week.
Cinematheque108 is an alternative screening series sponsored by the Critical Studies Department at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. The series offers a rare selection of events that highlight noteworthy experimental, documentary, and/or foreign films, many of which can not be seen anywhere else. Cinematheque108 is an educational forum that aims to expand understanding of alternative film and media. All screenings are free of charge and open to the pubic.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.
Name: David James