Opening Film. Terra Femme

Opening Film | Terra Femme by Courtney Stephens


Archivio Aperto apre la XV edizione con l’opera in anteprima italiana Terra Femme della regista statunitense Courtney Stephens che si esibirà in una live perfomance del film giovedì 20 ottobre alle ore 22.15 al Cinema Lumière, Sala Mastroianni. Tra le maggiori artiste di punta del panorama statunitense, la sua opera è un omaggio al viaggio e all’emancipazione femminile attraverso l’uso di cineprese leggere. La regista incontrerà il pubblico per un approfondimento della sua ricerca venerdì 21 ottobre alle ore 11.00 presso la Sala Refettorio dell’Istituto Storico Parri (Via Sant’Isaia 20).


The period of exploration that led to Terra Femme began some twelve years ago. I decided, after some medical problems, that I’d like to spend some time traveling while my health was good. I decided to return to India where I had studied in college, and spent many years working on a film adapted from the letters, diaries, and other fragments left by English women living abroad of the 18th and 19th century, exploring the relationship between early women’s writing and the British empire. I eventually abandoned the project, but along the way had come across a set of travel films shot by a woman, of whom nothing else was known. That mystery clue led to the creation of this film.


Among the women whose documents are included in the final film are a Pennsylvania widow on a sightseeing tour of Biblical gardens, an African-American housewife making a road trip during segregation, and a Jewish merchant hunting for jewelry to sell in her East Village store. The films are as much amateur portraits of the world as they are private portraits of the women themselves, autobiographies that use the public arena as a medium. They also capture a limitation or absence; they reveal the ways that women’s fates have often floated nearby to history; carried along by it, but without the ability to enter its logic. In holding them up to the light, I’ve tried not to pry too hard into their secrets and also to reflect on my own longing to experience the world in this way, through cinematic excavation, I find that the films reflect this back: a search for self-articulation through the act of looking.


Courtney Stephens 



Courtney Stephens è una regista le cui opere sperimentali esplorano i contorni del linguaggio, della geografia storica e della vita delle donne. Le sue opere sono state presentate nei più importanti musei del mondo, tra cui il MoMA (New York), la National Gallery of Art (Washington), il Barbican Centre (Londra), l’Exploratorium (San Francisco), il Garage Museum of Contemporary Ar (Mosca), il BAMPFA – Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive e festival cinematografici come la Berlinale, il New York Film Festival, il South by Southwest, l’IDFA e nei festival internazionali di Hong Kong, Mumbai, Lussemburgo, San Francisco e Camden. È stata borsista Fulbright in India e uno dei 25 nuovi volti del cinema indipendente di Filmmaker Magazine. Diplomata all’American Film Institute, ha co-fondato il microcinema Veggie Cloud di Los Angeles e ha curato programmi cinematografici per il J. Paul Getty Museum, il Museum of the Moving Image, Uniondocs e Flaherty NYC.