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Still from Paul Sharits’ Razor Blades (1965-1968) courtesy Anthology Film Archives

Exposures and Reflections: Short Films followed by Razor Blades

Dark Mirrors: The Double in Cinema

Dark Mirrors: The Double in Cinema

  • Sunday, October 23, 2022
  • 2:00 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium; John Klacsmann, archivist, Anthology Film Archives
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

Registration is required.

This program weaves a selection of experimental and avant-garde approaches to themes of shadows, replication, and repetition, all inherent to the medium. Titles by Maya Deren, Bruce Checefsky, Barbara Hammer, Elisabeth Subrin, and others are followed by a recently restored, two-screen, side-by-side 16mm projection of Razor Blades by Paul Sharits (1965–1968, 25 minutes), performed and discussed by John Klacsmann, archivist, Anthology Film Archives.

Meshes of the Afternoon

A preeminent work of the avant-garde, Meshes of the Afternoon influenced other filmmakers to experiment with the visual possibilities inherent to the medium of film itself. Deren and her then-husband Alexander Hammid collaborated on this trance-like representation of the unconscious through slow motion, montage, mattes, and other cinematic techniques. (Maya Deren, 1943, 16mm to digital, 14 minutes)

Witch’s Cradle

In 1943, Maya Deren collaborated with Marcel Duchamp on the film Witch’s Cradle; a choreographed set of movements between a figure (played by Duchamp) and the camera, intended to be an exploration of the magical qualities of objects in Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery in New York City. While the film remains unfinished and the original is considered lost, Bruce Checefsky’s reconstruction offers a glimpse of what might have been. (2014, video, 10 minutes)

Apteka / Pharmacy

A remake of the lost film Aptek a (Pharmacy, 1930) by Polish artists and publishers Francziszka and Stefan Themerson, reconstructed by Bruce Checefsky from photograms and production notes that survived World War II. (2001, 35mm to digital, 5 minutes)


Part of a series of documented acts, in the nude in his apartment, Romanian artist Ion Grigorescu double exposed 8mm footage of himself throwing punches in opposite directions, producing the appearance of his boxing a ghostly version of himself. (1977, 8 mm transfer to 16 mm and digital, silent, 3 minutes)

Double Strength
"A poetic study of the stages of a lesbian relationship by two women performance artists from honeymoon, through struggle, to break-up, to enduring friendship. Starring Terry Sendgraff on trapeze." — BH (Barbara Hammer, 1978, 16mm to digital, 11 minutes) This film was preserved by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation's Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding is provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.


“Staging an extended act of homage, as well as a playful, provocative confounding of filmic propriety, Subrin and her creative collaborator Kim Soss, resurrect a little-known 1967 documentary portrait of a young Chicago art student, who a few years later would become a notable figure in Second Wave feminism, and author of the radical 1970 manifesto, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.”Mark McElhatten (Elisabeth Subrin, 1997, 16mm to digital, 37 minutes)

Razor Blades will be performed after a 15-minute break