Roman Holiday

A few years ago the city went into paralytic shock over Matthew Barney at the SFMOMA. We don't expect the same for Eve Sussman, but her work fits squarely in the genre of gorgeous-to-look-at art films. Describing herself as a "sculptor who shoots videos," she struck it big with 2004's 89 Seconds at Alcazar, which shows Spanish royals milling about before posing for Velázquez' iconic Las Meninas -- and includes a snapshot instant of the very scene the master captured in his work. For the video-opera The Rape of the Sabine Women, she reaches for much more, reinterpreting the myth of the founding of Rome by setting it into the swinging '60s. Shot in Greece and Berlin and full of chic young things and lush, dense scenes, the story (the Roman abduction of the Sabine women to populate the burgeoning city) is told without dialogue, relying on a soundtrack by Jonathan Bepler, who worked with Barney on his Cremaster cycle. Including a chorus of 800 voices, a bouzouki, and a "coughing choir," it was recorded live on site during the filming. Tonight's screening is followed by a live performance of a handful of these musicians and vocalists, and on May 3 Sussman appears in a panel discussion with members of the Rufus Corporation, the art group she directs.
Fridays, 3 p.m. Starts: May 9. Continues through June 27, 2008

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