Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009

MassArt Film Society presents Chick Strand: A Trubute

Fake Fruit

Intimate documentary about young women who make papier mache fruit and vegetables in a small factory in Mexico. They have a gringo boss, but the factory is owned by his Mexican wife. The focus of the film is on the color, music and movement involved, and the gossip which goes on constantly, revealing what the young women think about men.

1986, 16mm, color/so

Soft Fiction

"Chick Strand's SOFT FICTION is a personal documentary that brilliantly portrays the survival power of female sensuality. It combines the documentary approach with a sensuous lyrical expressionism. Strand focuses her camera on people talking about their own experience, capturing subtle nuances in facial expressions and gestures that are rarely seen in cinema. The title SOFT FICTION works on several levels. It evokes the soft line between truth and fiction that characterizes Strand's own approach to documentary, and suggests the idea of softcore fiction, which is appropriate to the film's erotic content and style. It's rare to find an erotic film with a female perspective dominating both the narrative discourse and the visual and audio rhythms with which the film is structured. Strand continues to celebrate in her brilliant, innovative personal documentaries her theme, the reaffirmation of the tough resilience of the human spirit." - Marsha Kinder, Film Quarterly

1979, 16mm, b&w/so


Poetic surrealism. Approach is experimental in relationship of image and sound. A film about the loss of innocence and the search for the essence of the human spirit. Funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship.

1976, 16mm, color/so

Los Angeles Filmforum will presents
A Chick Strand Tribute Screening
At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles, CA
90028 Below is some of the promo info from the show.

"Filmmaker, artist, teacher, joyful marvel, force of life… Chick Strand
passed away on July 11.
For those of you who knew her, and those of you who didn't, Chick was a marvelous and
inspirational filmmaker and person, the artful person whom one was always
delighted to see, an essential person who made the world a better place.
Her films are consistently lovely and humanistic, whether portraits of
individuals in Mexico or resonant collages of cinema history and
contemporary media. (Think experimental films and experimental

"With her camera, Strand does not "document" her subjects--she creates
lyrical representations. She is not afraid to look through her lens as a
person; questioning, admiring, and honoring what she sees. Just as she
brings poeticism and the personal into ethnography, she infuses an
integrity, honesty, and selflessness into her works that few people can
manage." – Pablo de Ocampo

"For most of her filmmaking career, the integrity of Strand's vision lay
aslant of prevailing fashions, so that only belatedly did the full
significance of her radically pioneering work in ethnographic, documentary,
feminist, and compilation filmmaking – and above all, in the innovation of a
unique film language created across these modes – become clear. Though
feminism and other currents of her times are woven through her films and
though her powerful teaching presence sustained the ideals of underground
film in several film schools in the city, hers was essentially a
school-of-one." – David James, in The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and
Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (University of California Press,

About Chick Strand:
After graduating from Berkeley with a degree in anthropology, Strand threw
herself into the cultural ferment of the Bay Area in the 1960s, especially
Canyon Cinema, where she was one of its founders and instigators, with Bruce
Baillie. After four years she moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA and
joined the newly formed Ethnographic Film Program. Meeting Pat O'Neill, who
was at that time beginning his experiments with the optical printer, she
made Waterfall (1967), a film that solarized and otherwise re-worked both
live-action and found footage in the vein of contemporary West Coast
psychedelia. This overall aesthetic continued to inform Strand's work, but
it was sharpened and made more serious by her encounter with what seemed an
entirely contrary idiom, that of documentary ethnography. She did not get
involved with the Hollywood film industry, but taught film for twenty years
at Occidental College. She also painted extensively. Her second husband
was Marty Muller, known more widely as the artist Neon Park, and she had one
son, Eric Strand, a film editor. – Largely drawn from The Most Typical
Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles
(University of California Press, 2005), pp. 358

Appreciation by Holly Willis:

Article by Pablo de Ocampo in the Portland Mercury from 2001:

Paintings by Chick Strand: