Film programm

Family Matter(s)

Miranda July

Commented Film Art Programme // Thr 9 May / 08:00 p.m.

In German civil law, “family matter” refers to a number of  lawsuits affecting for example marriage and household as well as pension rights adjustment. Actual family values become therefore family lawsuits; the notion of family, that promises belonging and identity, becomes thoroughly reversed. Here, the family turns out to be a potential model for conflict that does not fulfill the promise of a protective private space.

The selected short films and videos from over five decades assume all in different manners confidential, close relationships as a starting point and engine of a narrative that reveals the comfort or discomfort of family relationships. Thus, the (re-)articulation of family values, potentiated dramaturgically, turns out to be the re-articulation of its functions in social life.

The 1950s domesticity cult and its ideas of family household and usually implicit job sharing, as praised in the US educational film A Date with Your Family, are contradicted with Claes Oldenburg’s pop-art manifesto in Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto scene “Conservative Mother”. And in Vanalyne Green’s Trick or Drink,the protection from outside necessary for the formation and development of the family arrangement turns out to be the trigger for compulsive-addictive behaviour. Even if sometimes parodistically turned upside down (Klara Lidén’s Ohyra, Chantal Akerman’s Family Business), the nuclear family remains the primary model of belonging in such constructions (Miranda July’s Atlanta, Cheryl Dunye’s An Untitled Portrait, Eli Cortiñas’ Quella che cammina). At the same time, it becomes the main element that visually and dialogically perpetuates its fundamental potential for conflict into fatal narratives.

Elena Zanichelli is Junior Professor for Art Studies and Aesthetical Theory at the University of Bremen and member of the Mariann-Steegmann-Institute. Art & Gender. Amongst others, she curated the exhibition “Women in Fluxus and Other Experimental Tales” (Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia 2013).

   | A DATE WITH YOUR FAMILY USA 1950, Edward G. Simmel, b/w, 10 min.
   | MANIFESTO (Conservative Mother Scene) Germany 2015, Julian Rosefeldt, col., 10:30 min.
   | TRICK OR DRINK USA 1984, Vanalyne Green, col., 20 min.
   | AN UNTITLED PORTRAIT USA 1993, Cheryl Dunye, col. / b/w, 3 min.
   | ATLANTA USA 1997, Miranda July, col., 10 min.
   | FAMILY BUSINESS GB 1984, Chantal Akerman, col., 18 min.
   | QUELLA CHE CAMMINA / THE ONE WHO WALKS Spain 2014, Eli Cortiñas, col., 9:30 min., original version with German subtitles
   | OHYRA Germany 2007, Klara Lidén, b/w, 4 min., Swedish with English subtitles

Presented in the series “Queering University” at the University of Bremen. Find more events at