DER Documentary

Art Films by Rina Sherman

by Rina Sherman
color, 40 min, 1983-1992

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Rina Sherman, a classical musician by training, turned to performance art and filmmaking in 1983, a year before she was exiled from South Africa and settled in France. She was a founding member of the performance art group, Possession Arts, in Johannesburg in 1983. Her early films show a strong performance art influence and her musical background has continued to be present in her work.

In Chicken Movie. Cluck! she included reality and elements of everyday life in her work for the first time. In a way, the film pre-empts her meeting with Jean Rouch upon her arrival in France; she made the film after happening on the following idea by Rouch: "It is more interesting to film reality as evoked by my presence (and the camera) than to pretend to be able to film it as is." The idea that there is no objective reality but only POV, motivated Rina to meet Jean Rouch, and some months later, he showed the film at the Cinémathèque saying: "This is a fresh voice; this is the kind of film we should be making today." Rina took his comment as carte blanche and subsequently invited Jean Rouch to act in two of her films, An Egg With No Shell and M. M. les locataires (Ladies and Gentlemen, the Boarders), a film about life in the Paris suburb of Noisy-le-Sec.

This DVD includes three short films:

Antics of the Artists (1983) - launch preview watch a preview
In and around the pool, an array of creatures move about. A scene of the famous novel "Seven Days at the Silbersteins" by Etienne Leroux to the music of Peter Klatzow, "Still-life with Moonbeams".

Chicken Movie. Cluck! (1984)
An urban poem, in which a chauffeur drives his Madam about in downtown Johannesburg; visits to friends, townships, wastelands. The trip ends with a nuptial-funeral ball where the men dance to the cock's crow and the rhythm of Zulu music. The film captures a certain Zeitgeist of the city of Johannesburg during the period of state of emergency in South Africa.

An Egg With No Shell (1992)
A male diva sings in a countertenor voice while massacring chickens brought to him by his butler, Jean Rouch, until a slave provides proof of his love for the chicken, which he has tucked under his arm. A film-opera based on a poem and musical theme by Rina Sherman.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Rina Sherman Retrospective, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 2011

Related Films
Three Art Makers
Sean Scully at Work - three short films

Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts