Bodies, Images, Histories: Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi at the Harvard Film Archive
April 17 - April 19, 2009
Directors Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi in Person Oh! Man (Oh! Uomo) Friday April 17 at 7pm Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi's powerful survey of the irreparable damage to human lives caused by World War One derives its exclamatory title from a quote by Leonardo da Vinci arguing that the very sight of the horrors of war is capable of awakening and renewing the human conscience. Unflinchingly organizing the archival footage which comprises the film, Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi create two broad categories -of displaced, sick, orphaned and malnourished children and of severely disfigured veterans. Forcing the audience to systematically confront, all at once, the ravages of war, the seemingly unruffled gaze of the camera, and the filmmakers' own tolerance for the images, forms a devastating and almost numbing meditation on man-s will to destruction. A sharp retort to complacent spectatorship, Oh! Man is also a bold testament to the power of the moving image to awaken the viewer and to objectify the camera's subject. Directed by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi. Italy 2004, 16mm, color, 71 min. Preceded by The Flower of the Race (Il fiore della razza) This short film highlighting the glorification of the body by Italian fascism skillfully contrasts footage of staged athletic events with home movies of weddings and family celebrations. Directed by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi. Italy 1991, 16mm, color, 20 min. Directors Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi In Person From the Pole to the Equator (Dal polo all'equatore) Saturday April 18 at 7pm From the Pole to the Equator is the name given to a documentary compiled in the late 1920s by filmmaker Luca Comerio, which drew on footage from around the globe to celebrate the vitality and achievements of European colonialism - most of all Italian fascism. Using this material, as well as other footage shot or collected by Comerio, Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi refashioned Comerio's work in order to tease out the ideology written upon -and between-every image. The fact that so much of the film had begun to decay gives it a layer of abstraction and serves as a comment on the contingent nature of the images and their ideology and, in Gianikian's words,"on the violence of colonialism as it plays itself out in different situations and spheres."
Directed by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi. Italy 1986, 16mm, color, 101 min. People, Years, Life (Uomini, anni, vita) Sunday April 19 at 3pm Using images shot in Russia and Armenia from World War I to the 1930s and retrieved from a Soviet film archive, Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi constructed a meditative film about the status of Armenians as a people without a state. Inspired by the diary of Gianikian's father, People, Years, Life uses rare footage depicting the region's major historic events: the end of Tsarist Russia, violence in the Caucasus during World War I, the 1918 Armenian exodus from Azerbaijan. Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi's treatment of the material manipulates the speed of the images, adds color and music, and magnifies various parts of the image, so that the movement of bodies across the frame begins to carry the weight of exile, mourning, dispossession. Directed by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi. Italy 1990, 16mm, color, 70 min.