"Barbara Hammer paints a colorful portrait of the American poet Elizabeth Bishop, from her childhood to her death in 1979. Bishop described herself as “timorously kicking around the coastlines of the world,” and the film is loosely organized around her stays in Nova Scotia, Key West, Brazil, and Cambridge—the homes she made for herself and the lovers she took. Never “out” as a lesbian—the concept would have been foreign to the writer who graduated from Vassar in the thirties—Bishop nonetheless actively pursued women, from her first summer-camp crush to her last affair. Hammer examines Bishop from all angles, interviewing everyone from literary luminaries like Marie-Claire Blais and Edmund White to Lota’s aged former maid. Hammer pulls the viewer into Bishop’s world, blending present day footage of each location with archival photos, and recreating moments in the writer’s life." Adapted from text by Monica Nolan (Frameline)
In the presence of the artist.
Barbara Hammer lives and works in New York City and Kerhonkson, New York. She is a visual artist primarily working in film and video. Her work reveals and celebrates marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told. Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages an audience viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change. Hammer has been to Yamagata both as a judge (1994) and with a competition documentary (2001). Since then she has been honored with five retrospectives in the last three years: The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Toronto International Film Festival and Kunsthalle Oslo in Norway. Her book, HAMMER! MAKING MOVIES OUT OF SEX AND LIFE, was released in 2010, through The Feminist Press. Hammer is well-known for making the first explicit 1974 lesbian film DYKETACTICS, and for her trilogy of documentary film essays on queer history NITRATE KISSES (1992), TENDER FICTIONS (1995), HISTORY LESSONS (2000). She received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013-14) for WELCOME TO THIS HOUSE (2015).