By way of lush formal and associative shifts, Hearts Are Trump Again evokes the ever-present tension between seemingly polarized states of experience. Desire and repulsion; freedom and constraint; pain and pleasure find articulation in images of ferocious dogs and mock conversations about childbearing. Tonally complex and viscerally rich, Hearts Are Trump Again is a lyrical exploration of emotional weather. - Brett Price
Material is presented as short scenes: documentation of the quotidian, interviews, on-camera monologues, and performative or expressive shots that are constructed. So the material, while mostly generated as a diary, is heterogeneous enough to include just about any kind of footage. At one point, a baby cries inconsolably, in another, a boy in a baseball uniform is playing Bach while his mother sits next to him putting on mascara. The 18 minute video montage of impressions has a cumulative effect, accessed and read differently depending on the mental connections the viewer makes.
In this piece Dani Leventhal recounts to camera her experiences of living and working in Israel, the fabled land of milk and honey of childhood lessons. With time spent in a metal factory and a battery farm for chickens, her harrowing tale includes stories of sexual harassment and sick birds. Against this background, there are idyllic images of bees and flowers, cows and calves, intimate caresses, dead birds. Every thing is worthy of Dani's gaze, and is transformed by the encounter, becoming more human or sacred, and we are closer to the pain and beauty of being alive.
Draft 9 28 minutes 2003
“The craft of montage is alive and well in Leventhal’s work. Delicate and harrowing juxtapositions of skinned animals, the tattooed arm of a Holocaust survivor eating bagels in a coffee shop, and neon flowers on a disco floor. In her work emerges something that is extraordinarily immediate, both fresh and painful, hard to watch and yet impossible not to watch." --Genevieve Yue, Senses of Cinema
Employing a process of accumulation and excision, Dani Leventhal creates videos that unearth a curious beauty in the minutiae of everyday life. In 2003 she received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and in 2009 an MFA in film/video from Bard College. She has screened her work at Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Gene Siskel Film Center, CineCycle and Anthology Film Archives. She showed 54 Days this Winter 36 Days this Spring for 18 Minutes at PS1 MoMA in the Greater New York 2010 exhibition. In 2011 she got a Captial R award from the Wexner Center for the Arts. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.