Ellen Cantor, Pinochet Porn, Saturday 3 June, 7pm
Followed by screenings Wednesday–Sunday
Screening times: 12pm and 4pm
4 June–30 July
Kino, Level II
70178 Stuttgart, Germany
Filming for Pinochet Porn (2008–16) began in 2008, and the project became the late Ellen Cantor’s focus for the subsequent five years. Following her death in 2013, her collaborators completed post-production, according to her instructions. The film is shot on Super-8, with overdubbed sound, and takes the form of a soap opera-like narrative, at once tragic and comedic, chronicling the intertwined lives of five children and their subsequent maturation into adulthood. The story reveals itself as a microcosm of the surrounding political discord, cycles of destruction and mounting violence, obliquely revolving around the Pinochet regime in Chile. These structures of annihilation permeate childhood fantasies, which the characters later create in their lives as adults, pointing to the film’s central question: is tragedy a choice?
In 2004, Cantor completed Circus Lives from Hell, a series of 82 pencil drawings that would later comprise the hand-drawn script for Pinochet Porn. In making the film, Cantor for the first time, formally served in the role of Director, bringing her drawings to life through a collage of live action sequences, animation, found and historical footage, which together comprises the film’s five chapters. Fitting to Cantor’s exploration of autobiography, Pinochet Porn is not only about Cantor’s life and the lives of her friends, but it is also the active embodiment of her life and the lives of her friends – effectively, her life performing her life.
The cast and crew, and by extension the film itself, galvanized and became a document of an extended moment in New York and London avant-garde art and culture. It represents various forms of creative production and a group of artists, curators, writers, filmmakers, underground culture makers, musicians, and their children. Pinochet Porn is Cantor’s most ambitious and complex work, reaching into every aspect of her practice while forging uncharted territories of the experimental narrative film. The precision with which Cantor employs radical choices of actors, editing, stylistic references, sexuality, and found footage within an epic linear narrative structure amounts to a composition that defies genre.
The film is presented in a purpose-built cinema, marking the German premier of the work. This project follows a long-running engagement with the artistic practice and work of Cantor, culminating in the book, A history of the world as it has become known to me (Sternberg Press, Summer, 2017).
Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation