The Cinema of Sharon Lockhart
September 18–19, 2009
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
As one of the very few contemporary artists equally talented and influential in both still photography and cinema, the work of Sharon Lockhart (b. 1964) has engaged a rich and fascinating dialogue between two media whose deep affinities are all too often misunderstood. Lockhart's early work drew frequent inspiration from the Seventies art cinema canon so central to her aesthetic, restaging key emotional moments into abstractly theatricalized tableaux, from the first kiss of French school children in Truffaut's Stolen Kisses (1968)—reimagined in Auditions (1994), her enigmatic serial portraits of Los Angeles youth—to the defamiliarization of late Cassavetes in her short film, Khalil, Shaun, A Woman Under the Influence (1994).
Favoring a static camera, and dynamic mise-en-scène that plays with depth and surface and renders ambiguous the distance between theatrical and natural gesture, Lockhart's subsequent film work balances its polished, high art aesthetic and formal rigor with a keen and politically astute ethnographic attention to its arresting and markedly "foreign" subjects--the Japanese small town girls basketball team in Goshogaoka (1998) and the largely indigenous population of a tropical Brazilian hamlet in Teatro Amazonas (1999). Using nonprofessional actors these two films make bold, unexpected use of the overtly theatrical space of the basketball court and the lavish titular opera house to discover cinematographic majesty and mystery within the everyday.
With her latest work, Lunch Break (2009), and its companion piece, Exit (2009), Lockhart's cameraturns upon her native New England, using an iron works in Maine to offer an arrestingly tactile vision of the rhythm and space of labor in the 21st century. The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to welcome back Sharon Lockhart for the opportunity to discuss her latest work and two seminal early films.
In recognition of her extraordinary contribution to cinema, Sharon Lockhart has been invited to Harvard to honor Richard P. Rogers, wondrous teacher, filmmaker and friend.
Sharon Lockhart, still from Exit, 2008. Color film, 40 minutes.