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VALIE EXPORT - Invisible Adversaries

Year: 1976, 104 mins
Code: IN-Valie

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Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of alien doubles bent on total destruction. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long movie camera takes with violently edited montages: private with public spaces; black & white with colour, still photographs with video, earsplitting sounds with disruptive camera angles. Anna uses her body like a map; after a devastating quarrel with her lover, she paints red stitches on herself. Watching their scenes together, we realize how seldom, if ever before, the details of sexual intimacy have been shown in film from the point of view from a woman. Export privileges rupture over unity and never settles for one-dimensional solutions
(Artforum, Nov. 1980) 

Language: German, with English subtitles.

Director: VALIE EXPORT, Peter Weibel (cooperation);
Script: Peter Weibel, VALIE EXPORT (cooperation),
based on an idea of VALIE EXPORT;
Cinematography: Wolfgang Simon;
Assistant: Rudi Palla; Editing: Herbert Baumgartner, VALIE EXPORT , Juno Sylva Englander;
Photography: Helga Borsodi, Hermann Hendrich, Monika Hubmann, Wilhelm Krejci, Wolfgang Soos, Karl Heinz Koller, Eric Timmermann, VALIE EXPORT;
Production: VALIE EXPORT;
Cast: Susanne Widl, Peter Weibel, Josef Plavec, Monika Helfer-Friedrich, Helke Sander, Dominik Dusek, Herbert Schmid, Eduard Neversal.

VALIE EXPORT, born (1940) in Austria Studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Linz. Graduated from a polytechnic high school as a designer. 1991-95 professor at the College of Arts in Berlin teaching design with visual media (both analogue and digital). 1994-95 vice president of the College of Arts in Berlin. Until 1994 professorship at the University of Wisconsin for film and video. Fiction films, avant-garde films, video tapes, expanded cinema, video installations, computer work, persona performances, body-material interaction, photography, installations, sculptures, objects, Gobelins (tapestry) and drawings as well as publications on contemporary art history. 1955-58 first photographic self-portraits. Since 1968 participation in international film festivals. 1970 published in collaboration with Peter Weibel Wien - Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film (Vienna - Image Compendium of Viennese Actionism and Film), as a result of this was sentenced to a month's of conditional imprisonment for the spreading of pornography. In 1977 her film Unsichtbare Gegner (Invisible Adversaries) was nominated by the jury for the Österreichische Staatspreis Austrian state award), but Minister Sinowatz vetoed the nomination. 1978 and 1981 produced two records with Monsti Wiener, Wahre Freundschaft (True Friendship) and Bananen (Bananas). Since 1980 Valie Export Film Productions in Vienna. Conception and organization of international art exhibitions and film programs. Professor at the School of Media in Cologne Founding member of the Austria Filmmakers Cooperative (1968) and of Film Women International (UNESCO) together with Susan Sontag, Mai Zetterling, Agnes Varda, et al; founding member of the Assembly of Authors in Graz (1971), foreign member of the American Cinematheque, Los Angeles (1985).

One of the most original films in this year´s Exposition, Invisible Adversaries is a tour de force of cinematic invention. It should bring international recognition to Valie Export, an Austrian experimental filmmaker known heretofore in America mostly by reputation. This is her first attempt at a feature-length narrative, and it reveals a prodigious talent at work. The title refers to extraterrestrial aliens called ´Hyksos´, malevolent forces that enter human bodies like incubi and initiate the decline of civilization. Not to be taken literally, the Hyksos are a poetic metaphor for the modern Zeitgeist, the apocalyptic mood of the times. Ms. Export uses this theme as a framework for some of the most audacious and amazing experiments since Cocteau. The comparison is appropriate, for on one level Invisible Adversaries is about art and the artist, a modern Blood of the Poet. To this, Export brings a fresh and intelligent sensibility, characteristically self-referential. Her visual resources include mirrors, still photography, video, dance, and films within the film, all employed with a bold and surprising inventiveness.
(Excerpt from the catalog notes of the 1978 Los Angeles International Film Exposition - Gene Youngblood).



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