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2024

Sadie Benning's Videoworks, Vol 1 & 2

March 5, 2024

A screening of Sadie Benning's Videoworks, Volume 1 & 2

Followed by a conversation between Nuova Orfeo and the curators in residence of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino.

Cinema Rouge et Noir
20:30

Sadie Benning began making experimental videos when they were 15-years old, after their father, the filmmaker James Benning gave them a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera for Christmas. Benning quickly became a pioneer of the genre, recognising its uncanny intimacy and psychodramatic potential. Made mostly in the privacy of the artist's bedroom, the videos offer a window into Benning's teenage world, narrating the discovery of their sexuality and the difficult experience of growing up as a lesbian in a violent, hostile and oppressive society. Using scrawled and handwritten text from diary entries, to record thoughts, feelings and images, Benning's videoworks reveal the longings and complexities of a developing identity in grainy pixelated black and white. Playfully seductive and painfully honest, Benning’s floating, close-up camera functions as a witness to their intimate revelations and acts as an accomplice in defining their evocative and experimental form. Benning's work emerges from a place half-innocent and half-adult— with all the honesty, humor, and desperation of a person just coming into self-awareness, trapped and uneasy.


Event a collaboration with and supported by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino.

Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1

A New Year (1989)
In a version of the “teenage diary,” Benning places their feelings of confusion and depression alongside grisly tales from tabloid headlines and brutal events in her neighborhood. The difficulty of finding a positive identity for oneself in a world filled with violence is starkly revealed by Benning’s youthful but already despairing voice.

Living Inside (1989)
When they were 16, Benning stopped going to high school for three weeks and stayed inside with their camera, TV set, and a pile of dirty laundry. This tape mirrors Benning's psyche during this time. With the image breaking up between edits, the rough quality of this early tape captures Benning’s sense of isolation and sadness, their retreat from the world. As such, Living Inside is the confession of a chronic outsider.

Me and Rubyfruit (1990)
Based on a novel by Rita Mae Brown, Me and Rubyfruit chronicles the enchantment of teenage lesbian love against a backdrop of pornographic images and phone sex ads. Benning portrays the innocence of female romance and the taboo prospect of female marriage.

If Every Girl Had a Diary (1990)
Setting their pixelvision camera on themselves and their room, Benning searches for a sense of identity and respect as a woman and a lesbian. Acting alternately as confessor and accuser, the camera captures Benning’s anger and frustration at feeling trapped by social prejudices.

Jollies (1990)
Benning gives a chronology of their crushes and kisses, tracing the development of their nascent sexuality. Addressing the camera with an air of seduction and romance, giving the viewer a sense of their anxiety and special delight as they came to realize their lesbian identity.

Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 2

A Place Called Lovely (1991)
“Nicky is seven. His parents are older and meaner.” A Place Called Lovely references the types of violence individuals find in life, from actual beatings, accidents and murders, to the more insidious violence of lies, social expectations, and betrayed faith. Benning collects images of this socially-pervasive violence from a variety of sources, tracing events from childhood: movies, tabloids, children's games (like mumbledy-peg), personal experiences, and those of others. Throughout, Benning uses small toys as props and examples—handling and controlling them the way we are, in turn, controlled by larger violent forces.

It Wasn't Love (1992)
Benning illustrates a lustful encounter with a “bad girl,” through the gender posturing and genre interplay of Hollywood stereotypes: posing for the camera as the rebel, the platinum blonde, the gangster, the '50s crooner, and the heavy-lidded vamp. Cigarette poses, romantic slow dancing, and fast-action heavy metal street shots propel the viewer through the story of the love affair. Benning’s video goes farther than romantic fantasy, describing other facets of physical attraction including fear, violence, lust, guilt and total excitement. As Benning puts it, “It wasn’t love, but it was something...” It was a chance to feel glamorous, sexy and famous, all at the same time.

Girl Power (1992)
Set to music by Bikini Kill (an all-girl band from Washington), Sadie Benning's Girl Power is a raucous vision of what it means to be a radical girl in the 1990s. Benning relates their personal rebellion against school, family, and female stereotypes as a story of personal freedom, telling the viewer how they used to model like Matt Dillon and skip school in order to adventure alone. Informed by the underground “riot grrrl” movement, this tape transforms the image politics of female youth, rejecting traditional passivity and polite compliance in favor of radical independence and a self-determined sexual identity.

2023

Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli's Anna with an introduction by Claire Fontaine

Nov. 29, 2023

A screening of Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli's Anna

With an introduction by Claire Fontaine

Cinema Rouge e Noir
20:30

Anna
Alberto Grifi, Massimo Sarchielli
1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
225 min

Shot in 1972, first shown in 1975, and newly restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, Alberto Grifi and massimo Sarchielli’s ANNA is an astonishing nearly four-hour documentary about a 16-year-old homeless junkie, eight months pregnant, whom the filmmakers discovered in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Mainly shot on then-newfangled video (which at times gives the black-and-white images a ghostly translucence), it documents the interactions between the beautiful, clearly damaged, often dazed teenager and the directors, who take her in partly out of compassion and partly because she’s a fascinating subject for a film. ANNA cuts between long, often discomfiting domestic scenes (including an interminable delousing in the shower) and equally protracted café discussions back in the square, where the unruly cross talk among hippies, bums, bourgeoisie, and angry young men touches on the movie’s key themes of obligation and intervention: between filmmakers and their subjects, the state and its citizens, fellow members of society. (Dennis Lim)

Two Palestinian Films in collaboration with Jun kebab

Nov. 26, 2023

Two Palestinian Films in collaboration with Jun kebab

An evening in collaboration with Jun Kebab

A screening of Heiny Srour's Leila wal Zi’ab (Leila and the Wolves) 1984 and Jocelyene Saab's Les Femmes Palestiniennes (Palestinian Women)

EPYC

Via Pignatelli Aragona, 42,

17:30

All proceeds from this screening will go towards Medicalaid Palestine and Palestinian Childrens Relief Fund.

Leila wal Zi’ab, 1984, 90mins

Drawing on the Arab heritage of oral tradition and mosaic patterns, Leila and the Wolves is an exploration of the collective historical memory of Arab women. Shot over seven years, and in often treacherous conditions, Srour’s film is a masterpiece of filmmaking, mixing together archival footage, fairy-tale storytelling, aesthetically bold imagery, and dramatisations of situations faced by women in Lebanon and Palestine, from early twentieth century to the beginning of the 1980s. Through the eyes of Leila, a Lebanese student dissatisfied with the official, colonial, male-dominated version of the history of the region, the film reconstructs women’s daily, often unglamorous and silent sacrifices, as part of and in parallel with heroic military actions. The stories told here are fierce and sometimes shocking.

Les Femmes palestiniennes, 1974, 16 mins

Les Femmes palestiniennes was made by Saab in 1973 for the French channel Antenne 2. "I wanted to show images of these Palestinian women fighters in Syria, which were very rare at the time. It was just before Sadat’s visit to Israel, and the situation was very tense. While I was editing the film at Antenne 2, Paul Nahon, then head of foreign correspondence, grabbed me by the collar and pulled me out of the editing room. Les Femmes palestiniennes was shelved and never televised. Sincere thanks to Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, for allowing us reproduce the pgroamme and use their subtitles, Association Jocelyene Saab for their support and Bidoun Magazine (Negar Azimi and Tiffany Malakooti) for suggesting this film to us in 2020!

Nuova Orfeo: New Arab Cinema | Vol. 2

June 29, 2023

Nuovo Cinema Arabo x TB21A-Academy: Thus waves come in pairs

A collaboration between TB21A Academy and Nuovo Cinema Arabo on the occasion of the exhibitionThus waves comes in pairs at Ocean Space, Venice curated by Barbara Casavecchia

Ocean space, Venice, 18:00

Thus waves comes in pairs takes its title from the poem "Sea and Fog" by Etel Adnan, and refers to the necessity of thinking of, and thinking with, plurality and exchange. Alongside scultptures by Simone Fattal and a newly commissioned instllation by Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano, the exhibitoin features an expanded public programme focused on supporting situated projects, collective pedagogies and alternative voices along the Mediterranean basin, across art, culture, science, conservation, and activism.

In this context Nuovo Orfeo presents Cinema Arabo Vol 2, an evening of films co-curated by Barbara Casavecchia and inspired by Etel Adnan, including Jocelyne Saab's Beirut Never Again (1976) and Lamia Joreige's Sun and Sea (2021)

PROGRAM

Beirut, Never Again, (35’)

With a child’s eyes Saab follows the daily destruction of the city’s walls. Every morning, between 6 and 10am she roams around Beirut while the militia from both sides rest from their night of fighting. A narration written and voiced by Etel Adan accompanies this devastating and extraordinary docu-poem.

Sun & Sea, (17’)

In ‘Sea & Sun’, at Adnan's request, Joreige enters into a hesitant dialogue with the poets first poem, written in 1949. The sound of waves and the golden light refracted on the blue sea present a seeming counterpoint to the intesity of Saab's film, yet Adnan's poem, hints at a hidden conflict between sun and sea. The threat of turmoil is never far away.

Jocelyne Saab (born in Beirut in 1948) was a Franco-Lebanese filmmaker, best known for her documentaries about the Lebanese civil war. She is considered a pioneer of Arab cinema, and built up a monumental body of work comprising 47 films and 6 photographic series. Mainly produced for television, her documentary films were, before her death on January 7, 2019, best known to the Lebanese diaspora who had access to her films broadcast on television during the war.

Lamia Joreige(born in Beirut in 1972) is a visual artist and film-maker who lives and works in Beirut. She uses archival documents and elements of fiction to reflect on history and its possible narration, and on the relationship between individual stories and collective memory. In her practice, rooted in her country’s experience, she explores the possibilities of representing the Lebanese wars and their aftermath. Her work is essentially on time, the recordings of its trace, and its effects on us.

With thanks to Louise Malherbe and Association Jocelyne Saab

Nuova Orfeo x Sicilia Queer

May 31, 2023

A screening of films by Barbara Hammer

Cinema De Seta
Cantieri Culturali
18:30

Nuova Orfeo are delighted to present a screening of films celebrating the work of cult artist, activist and feminist film maker, the late Barbara Hammer.

A pioneer of experimental queer cinema Hammer produced over 90 films and installation during the span of her 50 year career. This screening focuses on earlier works: (from 1974-1987) super 8, 16mm and video pieces, many of which orbited around Hammer's personal life, tackling broken relationships, periods and aging, whilst lyrically exploring sexuality, female pleasure and the body in formally radical and innovative ways.

Introduced by Beatrice Gibson

Programme:
Psychosynthesis 6 mins
Menses 3 mins
Sync Touch 10 mins
Sappho 6 mins
No no nooky TV 12 mins
SuperDyke meets Madame X, 20 mins
Audience, 32 mins

@xcrswx [Crystabel Riley / Seymour Wright] Live Performance

May 31, 2023

A live performance by @xcrswx [Crystabel Riley / Seymour Wright]
Followed by a DJ set by A Colder Consciousness, (Flora Pitrolo) and Mario Adamo

Event in collaboration with Civico Museo Castelbuono + Sicilia Queer

Terrazza dell’Institut Français,
Cantieri Culturali
20:00

During the late naughties Crystabel Riley toured Japan and Europe using drums, electronics and make-up in noise trio Maria and the Mirrors. This was the start of her interest in patterns on skins - human and drum. This interest in dimensional patterns existing on (and off) different surfaces has continued to evolve through exploring the idea of 'care and uncare' of the skin, self, others, and the world, across all of Crystabel's practices as an Artist (Make-up, Drum). Crystabel has been a long term collaborator of Sue Lynch as well as the London Improvisers Orchestra. She is currently working on the multi-format duo project @xcrswx with Seymour Wright. She recently played at LCMF (London Contemorary Music Festival)

Seymour Wright is a saxophonist. His work is about the creative, situated friction of learning, ideas, people and the saxophone – music, history and technique ­– actual and potential. Seymour's solo music is documented on three widely-acclaimed collections – Seymour Wright of Derby (2008), Seymour Writes Back (2015) and Is This Right? (2017). Current projects include: @xcrswx with Crystabel Riley; abaria with Ute Kanngiesser; [Ahmed] with Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Pat Thomas; GUO with Daniel Blumberg; XT with Paul Abbott; The Creaking Breeze Ensemble; a trans-atlantic duet with Andy Guthrie, and, with Jean-luc Guionnet a project addressing an imaginary lacunae in Aby Warburg's Atlas Mnemosyne.

Flora Pitrolo is an academic and DJ. Her research investigates experimental performance and music cultures of the 1980s, with a special focus on Italy. Her latest book, Taroni-Cividin, documents the avant garde duo's performance, video and expanded cinema output from 1977-84. She is active as a DJ in multiple experimental music scenes

Mario Adamo is a Dj and sonic explorer whose work embraces ambient music with post punk roots. With a DIY approach based mostly on improvisation, sampling and sparse looping, the attempt is to dive into the unknown through atmospheric digital sounds, audio manipulations and field recordings, setting the possible ground for the appearance of musical. Mario’s latest works include audio-visual collaborations with Landescape 2015, Ortigia Sound System Festival, Wesh Studio & Maat Festival.


@xcrswx created the soundtrack for Dreaming Alcestis, a hologpaphic installation, co-directed by Beatrice Gibson and Nick Gordon, co written by Maria Nadotti and produced by Okta Film. Dreaming Alcestis is commissioned by the Museo Civico of Castelbuono and Hayward Gallery Touring for British Art Show 9, and supported by the Italian Council (X Edizione 2021), Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea del Ministero della Cultura.

The exhibition Dreaming Alcestis, at Museo Castelbuono is curated by Laura Barreca and runs through 10.11.2023.

This event is promoted by Civico Museo Castelbuono in collaboration with Sicilia Queer and curated by Nuova Orfeo. It is supported by The Italian Council (2021) Direttorato generale creatività contemporanea, Ministero della cultura.

La lotta non è finita

Feb. 3, 2023

La lotta non è finita
Italian feminisms and experimental cinema in the 1970’s

Cinema Rouge e Noir
18:30

A programme of films curated by Hila Peleg and Erika Balsom, co-curators of No Master Territories, Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image.

Introduced in person by Erika Balsom.
Produced by Nuova Orfeo and Goethe-Institut Palermo

This programme traces a range of audiovisual perspectives from the Italian feminist movements of the 1970's through the presentation of three short films – La lotta non è finita (Collettivo Femminista di Cinema Roma, 1973), Rony (Annabella Miscuglio, 1973–76), and Paola (Annabella Miscuglio, 1973-76) – alongside an excerpt from Processo per Stupro (A Trial for Rape, 1979), a documentary made by a collective of six women, including Miscuglio.

The screening will be followed by  a short in conversation between Balsom and director Beatrice Gibson, co-founder of Nuova Orfeo

The exhibition No Master Territories, Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image, was produced by HKW, Berlin.

2022

Nuova Orfeo: New Arab Cinema | Vol. I

Oct. 4, 2022

Nuova Orfeo: New Arab Cinema | Vol. I

18.00-20.00, Cinema Rouge et Noir, Palermo

Supported by Istituto Svizzero and TBA21-Academy

Nuova Orfeo presents New Arab Cinema, a new ongoing, experimental film and artist moving image programme strand that explores and expands on Palermo’s connection to the Arab world by centring Middle Eastern and North African artists and/or subject matter. Vol. I focuses on the work of Basma Alsharif and Jumana Manna, who are joined in conversation by Barbara Casavecchia at the end of the screening.

Basma Alsharif (1983). Working nomadically between the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and currently based in Berlin, Basma Alsharif—an artist and filmmaker of Palestinian heritage—explores cyclical political histories and conflicts. In films and installations that move backward and forward in history, between place and nonplace, she confronts the legacy of colonialism and the experience of displacement with satire, doubt, and hope.

Jumana Manna (1987) is a visual artist and filmmaker raised in Jerusalem and based in Berlin. Her work explores how power is articulated, focusing on the body, land and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Through sculpture, filmmaking, and occasional writing, Manna deals with the paradoxes of preservation practices, particularly within the fields of archaeology, agriculture and law.


Programme

Basma Alsharif, We Began By Measuring Distance, 19', 2009

Long still frames, text, language, and sound are weaved together to unfold the narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. We Began by Measuring Distance explores an ultimate disenchantment with facts when the visual fails to communicate the tragic.

Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle, The Goodness Regime, 21 min HD video, 2013

An experimental documentary exploring the myths and images that have enabled an understanding of Norway as a nation of peace and benevolence. The binding element is a series of enactments by children that recount the myths, historical events and cultural personas that have propelled the image of Norway as a peace nation. These are weaved together with archival footage, political speeches and voiceovers from Hollywood films. In a satirical deconstruction of the Goodness Regime that permeates Norwegian society, Manna and Storihle explore the moral dilemmas embedded within the history of one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

Basma Alsharif, The Story of Milk and Honey, 10 min, 2011

Narrated by an anonymous voice, the details of attempting to write a love story in Beirut, Lebanon are told through a delicate weaving of fact and fiction. A tale of defeat transforms into a multi-layered journey exploring how we collect information, perceive facts and recreate history to serve our own desires.

Jumana Manna, Blessed Blessed Oblivion, 21 min HD Video, 2010

A portrait of masculine performativity in East Jerusalem, as manifested in gyms, body shops and hair dressing parlors. Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1963), the video uses visual collage and the musical soundtrack as ironic commentary. Simultaneously psychologizing the characters and seduced by them, Manna finds herself in a double bind similar to the conflicted desire that animates her protagonist as he drifts from abject rants to declamations of heroic poetry or unashamed self-praise.

Nuova Orfeo x Sicilia Queer

May 31, 2022

Nuova Orfeo x Sicilia Queer

Nuova Orfeo and Sicilia Queer present:

The Human Surge (2016) Dir. Eduardo Williams

+ The Canyon (2021) Dir. Zachary Epcar
Cinema De Seta
Palermo, Sicily

Nuova Orfeo are totally delighted to present two fabulous films in the context of the wondrous Sicilia Queer exploring youth, alienation and the sublime.

In Epcar’s The Canyon we travel through an urban residential development until it slips into oblivion. The boxy architecture and cordoned greenery of a luxury housing developments gives way to an architecture of dreams, which it depicts through a sequence of precise frames, stock gestures, and pre-programmed phrases, drifting into entropy.

Winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno, Eduardo Williams' debut feature, The Human Surge, is a mesmerising, sinuous and queer exploration of millennials, technology and the disorientating, fractious nature of the present. The paths of four listless interconnected protagonists -pressed for cash and inseparably attached to their laptops and phones - entwine, across continents and landscapes, via bodies, chat rooms and ants.

The screening will be followed by an in-person conversation between Eduardo Williams, Dennis Lim, director of the New York Film Festival and Beatrice Gibson.

The screening begins at 6.30pm

2021

Orfeo on the Beach

Sept. 30, 2021

Nuova Orfeo and Meno present Orfeo on the Beach

Throughout September 2021


Arena La Sirenetta, Via Azalea, Mondello

Palermo, Sicily

A season of radical, feminist, cult film, experimental cinema and artist's moving image at the historic open air cinema La Sirenetta.

The programme features cult feminist classics such as Barbara Loden's Wanda and Atlantiques by Mati Diop, which won the 2019 Jury Prize at Cannes and was the first ever film by a black female director to enter the competition. We also present an evening with the artist Pauline Curnier Jardin, the Italian premiere of Gibson's Dear Barbara, Bette, Nina and a curatorial collaboration with the collectives Nomadica and ৺ ෴ ර ∇ ❃﹌﹌ on film, feminism and the Italian South.

Programmed by Beatrice Gibson. Co-ordinated by Stella Sideli.

Orfeo on the Beach is supported by Società italo-belga, Institut Français Palermo, and Sinergie Group


Project Partners:

Nomadica

Sicilia Queer

Nuova Orfeo Supporters.png

Sept. 29, 2021

Variety (Dir. Bette Gordon, 1983)

+ Beirut Outtakes (Dir. Peggy Ahwesh, 2007)

Sept. 28, 2021

Grotta Profunda: les humeurs du gouffre (2011–2017) + Explosion Ma Baby (2016) + Fat to Ashes (2021)

Dir. Pauline Curnier Jardin

Sept. 22, 2021

Atlantiques (Dir. Mati Diop, 2019)

*** CANCELLED ***

Sept. 21, 2021

Queen of Diamonds (Dir. Nina Menkes, 1991)

+ Deep Sleep (Dir. Basma Alsharif, 2014)

Sept. 13, 2021

৺ ෴ ර ∇ ❃﹌﹌ e Nomadica: Architetture di Autocoscienza


Programma della serata:

- Follia come Poesia (Dir. Le Nemesiache, 1977)
- Il piacere del testo (Dir. Adriana Monti, 1977)
- Serie di brevi ritratti in Super 8 delle collaboratrici al collettivo di cinema femminista di Roma: Maitreya, Rony, Paola, Anna’s Textures (Dir. Annabella Miscuglio del Collettivo di cinema Femminista di Roma, 1973-1976)
- Narciso, film esperienza (Dir. Marinella Pirelli, 1966-67)
- Medusa and the Abyss (Dir. Felicity Palma, 2019)

Sept. 7, 2021

Wanda (1970)
Dir. Barbara Loden

+ Dear Barbara, Bette, Nina (2020)
Dir. Beatrice Gibson

** Prima visione **

About

Nuova Orfeo is a not-for-profit, collectively run, experimental film, music and performance initiative with a focus on site-specific programming, founded by Beatrice Gibson, with Flora Pitrolo, Stella Sideli and Pietro Airoldi in 2021.

It takes its name from Palermo's last porn cinema as a symbol of rebirth of the city's cultural life, this time in a feminist, polyphonic and radically inclusive key: flipping the idea of porn, in which there is an object of the gaze, and focusing instead on work in which the authorial gaze belongs to those who tend to be in the position of objects – art made by and about women, non-binary, trans and queer people, migrants and people of color.

From object to subject, from fetish to agent, from looked-at to looking. Our approach to site responds to one of Palermo’s main social and aesthetic facts: an abundance of majestic but abandoned, unfinished, unused or underused spaces, from cinemas to gardens, from decaying palazzi to the new ruins of the unfinished*.

Nuova Orfeo’s site-specific imperative is to use these spaces, reactivating lost spaces and reimagining old ones so they can be experienced in a completely new light.

We are an collectively run organisation whose work is supported by our own funds and labour, alongside partnerships, collaborations and donations.

If you can, please consider donating.

Education

June 10, 2023

Bambini nell'Inferno

Civico Museo Castelbuono
14:00-17:00
Ages 7-12

An event in collaboration with Civico Museo Castelbuono

A workshop for kids dreamt up by Obie and Laizer Gordon.

A 16mm horror movie to be shot on location at Museo Castelbuono, with participants as cast and crew. "We will make scary masks and special effects using UV paint and torches. We will create hell inside the exhibition. Then we will film what we've created. There will be a party"

With the support of artists Adriano La Licata and Cristina Giarnecchia.

Event promoted by Museo Civico di Castelbuono on the occasion of Dreaming Alcestis. Dreaming Alcestis, curated by Laura Barreca is on display at Museo Civico di Castelbuono until 10.11.2023. Realized thanks to the support of the Italian Council (X Edizione 2021) Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea del Ministero della Cultura.