MARTINA KUDLÁČEK: NOTES ON MARIE MENKEN

"Martina Kudláček has made a name for herself creating discursive, biographical documentaries on experimental cinema personalities Maya Deren (IN THE MIRROR OF MAYA DEREN, 2002) and Alexander Hammid (AIMLESS WALK, 1997). Kudláček latest movie brings into focus the underground film icon Marie Menken, best known for her role as a protagonist in Andy Warhol's CHELSEA GIRLS (1966). Menken's role in Warhol's underground classic that managed to make it above ground brought her a certain degree of fame as an actress, but people often overlook the fact that she was a talented filmmaker in her own right. 

Kudláček's fascinating, filmic diary NOTES ON MARIE MENKEN follows the reminiscences of her friends and colleagues, among them Gerard Malanga (poet, photographer, and filmmaker) and Jonas Mekas (fellow Lithuanian, artist, and public champion of the avant-garde). Various interviewees recount how the public, marital theatrics of Menken and her husband, filmmaker Willard Maas, became the inspiration for the perennial battling older couple in Edward Albee's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? 

 
Marie Menken

Marie Menken

 

Beginning with the excavation of Marie's rusty film cans, old photographs, and papers housed in a storage locker, Kudláček brings Menken vividly back to life. She contrasts her own crisp black-and-white digital cinematography with lush color excerpts from Menken's 16 mm celluloid films. In the film's most compelling sequence, fellow artist Gerard Malanga winds through a rare clip of Marie Menken and Andy Warhol on a New York City rooftop. They seemed to be engaged in an artistic duel, each shooting with their respective 16 mm Bolex cameras. The moviola, through which the film runs, sheds light on an intricately choreographed dance that shines through flickering images of deteriorating film."

– Jon Gartenberg on NOTES ON MARIE MENKEN, Tribeca Film Festival 2006

 
Artist Gerard Malanga viewing rare film from Marie Menken’s Archive.

Artist Gerard Malanga viewing rare film from Marie Menken’s Archive.

Andy Warhol and Marie Menken in a “duel of the Bolexes.”

Andy Warhol and Marie Menken in a “duel of the Bolexes.

The bonus feature on this DVD edition comprises four of the poetic, experimental films that Menken created between 1945 and 1966, and which are referenced in Kudláček’s documentary: VISUAL VARIATIONS ON NOGUCHI (1945), GLIMPSE OF THE GARDEN (1957), ARABESQUE FOR KENNETH ANGER (1958-61), and LIGHTS (1964-1966).

 

GLIMPSE OF THE GARDEN (Marie Menken, 1957)

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

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NOTES ON MARIE MENKEN
(US, 2006)

Director & script: Martina Kudláček
Cinematography: Martina Kudláček
Editor: Henry Hills
Sound: Judy Karp
Original Music: John Zorn
Cast: Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Peter Kubelka, Alfred Leslie, Gerard Malanga, Jonas Mekas, Joseph J. Menkevich, Billy Name & Mary Woronov
Producer: Martina Kudláček & Mina Film

• 97 minutes
• 35mm, 16mm, DV
• B&W, color
• Sound (Original English Version)

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Bonus Material

VISUAL VARIATIONS ON NOGUCHI
(US, 1945)

Director: Marie Menken

• 4 minutes
• B&W
• Sound

GLIMPSE OF THE GARDEN
(US, 1957)

Director: Marie Menken

• 5 minutes
• B&W, color
• Sound

ARABESQUE FOR KENNETH ANGER
(US, 1958-1961)

Director: Marie Menken

• 4 minutes
• Color
• Sound

LIGHTS
(US, 1964-1966)

Director: Marie Menken

• 6:30 minutes
• Color
• Silent

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Total Running Time: 01:56:30 

Language: English

Booklet Text: Christa Blümlinger, Christian Höller & Martina Kudláček (Bilingual German & English)

Published By: Index DVD

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.