Performing Sexuality: a four-film feast at BFI Southbank, 8.40pm, NFT2
with introduction by Barbara Hammer
Flaming Creatures (USA 1963, Jack Smith, 43min)
Chumlum (USA 1964, Ron Rice, 26min)
Fuses (USA 1965, Carolee Schneeman, 18min)
& Dyketactics (USA 1974, Barbara Hammer, 4min)
BFI Southbank introduction to Performing Sexuality programme: Smith's frenzied, whirling, decadent tableux of sexual misfits directed a flamethrower at the moral guardians of the establishment, and was seized by the police at its premiere. Inspired by, and featuring Smith, Rice's Chumlum is a sublime kaleidoscope of flesh and fabric, bringing drag glamour into the perceptual realm of the psychedelic. Schneeman's erotic classic Fuses meanwhile aims to move beyond fetishism in an investigation of the correspondence between the intimate act of lovemaking and its representation on screen. We are delighted to welcome filmmaker Barbara Hammer to introduce this programme which will also include her pioneering lesbian work Dyketactics (US 1974, 4min) in the programme. Presented in association with Tate Modern, whose full retrospective ‘Barbara Hammer: The Fearless Frame' runs 3-26 Feb 2012 (tate.org.uk).
Time Out review of Flaming Creatures:
'One of the legendary maudit films, Smith's extravaganza of underground pleasure(ing)s doesn't quite stand up to its chequered fame. Shot in murky black-and-white, it visibly belongs to the early '60s, but nevertheless appears to originate from some arcane time pocket of the '20s, populated by vampy drag queens and draggy vampires, guests at a boisterous but strangely innocent orgy orchestrated with pulpy pop ditties and flapper anthems. Admittedly, it now comes across as an archive piece, and proves that boredom has always been a factor in the avant-garde's articulation of perverse desire. But as a missing link between prehistoric cine-camp and the dazed excesses of Warhol and the infinitely more trenchant George Kuchar, it is of academic interest at the very least.'
Watch the amazing trailer here