Indiana Daily Student

World-renowned art films shown at IU Cinema

<p>Director Shelly Silver speaks about her films “A Strange New Beauty" and "What I’m Looking For” on Oct. 18 in the IU Auditorium.&nbsp;</p>

Director Shelly Silver speaks about her films “A Strange New Beauty" and "What I’m Looking For” on Oct. 18 in the IU Auditorium. 

Shelly Silver turns the rules of cinema upon its head to create pieces that seem nothing like what you would see in a movie theater chain. To create art films, Silver uses film and sound as media to create artistic works typically shown at museums.

“A Strange New Beauty” and “What I’m Looking For” are two art films that were both created and directed by Shelly Silver. The films, shown Oct. 18 at the IU Cinema, take an avant-garde approach to cinema.  Silver herself was present to speak at the showings.

“‘A Strange New Beauty’ describes a situation, perhaps our situation,” Silver said. “The title makes reference to a new form of beauty. Each era, each culture defines beauty differently. I am asking with this film through images, sound and text, what is our current definition of beauty, and what are the implications of value?”

Silver is a filmmaker and photographer and has exhibited her work all around the world, including places such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in France and the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan.

Her films have been shown at multiple film festivals worldwide in places such as Singapore, Paris and Moscow. Silver is an associate professor and the director of moving image at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, according to her website.

According to the IU Cinema’s website, “A Strange New Beauty” is shown as a documentary-style film that displays “a disturbing intrusion” into lavish houses located in Silicon Valley, California. Despite being a documentary, there were not any people on camera during the film, just empty houses and the traces of memories. The world premiere of the film in 2017 was at the Cinéma du Réel documentary film festival in Paris, France.

“It’s beautiful imagery with an unsettling score and text, and I’m really into that weird kind of dystopian stuff,” Nora McMahon, a junior majoring in media, said. 

“What I’m Looking For” is a documentary about a photographer who is trying to capture moments of intimacy, according to Silver’s website. The short film was shot in New York City, and was released in 2004. It shows the connections between the photographer and the subject, and is a story focused on “desire and control.”

“I love the way that she used photography to capture these intimate details about people,” said A.J. Salisbury, a senior majoring in media production. “The narration was uncomfortable but it was really interesting, especially the guy that she kept going back to who had ‘the beautiful neck.’"

These films are a part of the “Woman Filmmakers at the Intersection of Documentary, Video Art, and Avant Garde” series at the IU Cinema. 

The series is through the cinema’s creative collaborations program and includes three female contemporary and experimental filmmakers. The next and final film in the series will be “Stand in the Stream” shown at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the cinema, with the artist Stanya Kahn, expected to be present.

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