The director's chair in Hollywood has long been the province of men, with scant few exceptions. So women have gravitated toward more personal forms of cinematic expression, notably ethnography and experimental film. San Francisco and its environs in the 1970s were particularly welcoming to female filmmakers on the fringe, who responded by pushing the rebellious exuberance of 1960s counterculture in more mature and reflective directions. Radical Light: Women of the West '70s Bay Area Experimentalists is a transporting collection of short works from a chaotic and fruitful period. It salutes the publication of the eagerly awaited history, Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 19452000. The program evokes a time capsule reopened, with the attendant echoes of nostalgia, premonition, and stunning rediscovery. The filmmakers on view, including such giants as Gunvor Nelson, Dorothy Wiley, and Barbara Hammer, pursued distinctly different ways of integrating identity (read: feminist) politics with personal, poetic impulses. Above all, at a time when women image-makers were obliged to stake out political, ideological, and aesthetic positions, they made authentic, moving art.
Wed., Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m., 2010