Gunvor Nelson was born in Sweden, but left her native country in the mid-1950s to study in the United States. Later, she and her husband, filmmaker Bob Nelson settled in the San Francisco Bay Area and raised their daughter, Oona. Gunvor Nelson's first film work was with her husband, then with her neighbor Dorothy Wiley, and finally on her own. In 1965, when Nelson and Wiley decided to make their first film, SCHMEERGUNTZ, very few women were recognized as independent filmmakers. Nelson chose not to label herself, identifying as neither as "feminist" nor "hippie", she made what she called "personal" films, (a term she preferred to "experimental" or "avant-garde".) Having studied painting and art history, Nelson chose cinema to express herself, through ambiguous and poetic sound and image art that explores dreams, the use/misuse of the female body, the difficulties of communication between generations, and dislocation from one's environment of origin. The four early works brought together in DEPARTURES show the genesis and maturation of an artist, the crystalization of her priorities creatively, and a continuous renewal of inspiration. Other Gunvor Nelson films are available on the DVD entitled LIGHT YEARS.

"I discovered how beautiful things look through the camera... A melon or dirty dishes, seen with a lens in close-up were translated into something else... The camera became like binoculars; you zero in on a small area and isolate it, and it becomes more precious because it's selected."

— Gunvor Nelson, 1978





"SCHMEERGUNTZ is one long raucous belch in the face of the American Home. A society which hides its animal functions beneath a shiny public surface deserves to have such films as Schmeerguntz shown everywhere - in every PTA, every Rotary Club, every club in the land. For it is brash enough, brazen enough and funny enough to purge the soul of every harried American married woman."

— Ernest Callenbach, Film Quarterly

"MY NAME IS OONA captures in haunting, intensely lyrical images fragments of the coming to consciousness of a child girl. A series of extremely brief flashes of her moving through night-lit space or woods in sensuous negative, separated by rapid fades into blackness, burst upon us like a fairy-tale princess, with a late sun only partially outlining her and the animal in silvery filigree against the encroaching darkness; one of the most perfect recent examples of poetic cinema."

— Amos Vogel, The Village Voice

TAKE OFF  (1972)

TAKE OFF (1972)

MOONS POOL  (1973)


"MOON'S POOL is a masterful and lyrical use of the film medium to portray the search for identity and resolution of self. Photographed under water, live bodies are intercut with natural landscapes creating powerful mood changes and images surfaced from the unconscious."

— Freude Bartlett



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


(US, 1962-1973)

Director: Gunvor Nelson


(US, 1966)

Filmmakers: Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley

• 14 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Sound 

(US, 1969)

Filmmaker: Gunvor Nelson
Tack (Thanks): Patrick Gleeson, Steve Reich

• 9 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Sound 

(US, 1962)

Filmmaker: Gunvor Nelson
Film Idea: Magda
Starring: Ellion Ness.
Music: Pat Gleeson
Musicians: Pat Gleeson (synthesizer); Jabali Hart (drums); Mwile Maupin (saxaphone); Mchezasi Williams (bass).
Thanks for Assistance: Thomas Heinz, Magda, Jim Walker

• 9 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Sound 

(US, 1973)

Filmmaker: Gunvor Nelson
Sound: Roger Kent, Jack Crigler
Thanks for Assistance: Robert Moon, Dian Allen

• 15 minutes
• 16mm
• Color
• Sound 


Total Running Time: 00:47:30 

Booklet Text: Re:Voir (Bilingual French & English)

Published By: Re:Voir Video

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)

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