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Die Reise nach Lyon (Blind Spot). 1980. West Germany. Written and directed by Claudia von Alemann. With Rebecca Pauly, Denise Péron, Jean Badin, Sarah Stern. 2K digital restoration courtesy Deutsche Kinemathek. North American premiere. In German and French. 112 min.
A provocative, smart, yet woefully underappreciated debut film by the German writer-director Claudia von Alemann, a contemporary of Chantal Akerman and Helke Sander, Blind Spot rekindles the forgotten history of Flora Tristan, the 19th-century French-Peruvian socialist and feminist (and grandmother of Paul Gauguin), through the experiences of Elisabeth, a quixotic scholar who leaves her husband and young daughter in Germany in the hope of finding meaningful traces of Tristan’s writing and activism in Lyon, the French city where she spent her final months before her death in 1844 at age 41. As Elisabeth wanders the streets alone, her tape recorder capturing the sounds of the present to divine untold stories of the past—“I want to imagine what [Tristan] might have heard, seen, or felt,” Elisabeth notes. “Colors, noises, all of that....”—von Alemann herself reflects on cinema as a tool of subjective sensory experience, history writing, and political action.
Love of 3 Oranges. 1993. USA. Directed by Naomi Uman. Digital and 16mm restoration by XFR Collective, with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation; 16mm output by Colorlab, courtesy XFR Collective. World premiere. 10 min.
As a Columbia undergrad living in Alphabet City, Naomi Uman enlisted two neighbors—Gaye and 12-year-old Carmen—in this sensuous, tactile experiment in animation, live-action, and hand-colored painting on celluloid.