3hrs 43mins

A double bill of uncompromisingly feminist avant-garde filmmaking from trailblazer Yvonne Rainer, Kristina Talking Pictures and Privilege screen as part of Yvonne Rainer: A Retrospective, a UK-wide touring programme presented by archive activist feminist film collective Invisible Women in partnership with the ICA.

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Yvonne Rainer
(Privilege) Contains depictions of and references to rape and sexual assault.

Kristina Talking Pictures

In this unusual third feature, Rainer pushes at the limits of narrative cinema, building a deliberately disjointed, thrillingly odd riposte to conventional Hollywood storytelling. The loose-limbed, mosaic-like plot centres on a Hungarian lion tamer Kristina (played by several actors, including the filmmaker herself) who has travelled to New York to become a choreographer and who falls in love with feckless sailor Raoul. These at least are the bare narrative bones of a film which takes pleasure in destabilising the viewer at every turn, cutting off dialogue, casting actors across multiple roles and playing with voiceover and excessive dialogue. A thrilling original work of deconstructed storytelling.


Privilege (1990) is a rare beast, a playful, genuinely boundary-pushing movie which uses the menopause as a jumping-off point to open up a wide ranging intersectional discussion. The film takes as its starting point a series of documentary style interviews with different women about their experiences of menopause. Rainer then hands the camera to a fictitious director Yvonne Washington (Novella Nelson), using a dizzying array of cinematic techniques – monologues, voiceovers, re-stagings and text on screen – to expose the dynamics of race and class underpinning these women’s stories. In her sixth film, Rainer leans confidently into this formal experimentation, putting forward a compelling activist argument that truly radical futures can only be visualised through exploding conventional narrative.

Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer is a legend of avant-garde filmmaking whose work has long addressed timely subjects around sexuality, ageing and gender through an uncompromising feminist lens. Until recently her work has not been easily available to screen in UK cinemas, but thanks to these recent restorations her provocative and daring work is now ripe for rediscovery for a new generation of intrepid film fans. These screenings are presented in new 4K restorations.

Yvonne Rainer: A Retrospective is a UK-wide touring programme presented by archive activist feminist film collective Invisible Women in partnership with the ICA. Restorations undertaken by the Museum of Modern Art and the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.

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Sun 28 Apr