4 & 8 August 2023

Paul B. Preciado

Alexandros Pissourios (in conversation with films by Maria Anastassiou, Luke Fowler, Margaret Salmon, Vicky Smith, Margaret Tait and Katerina Thomadaki)

The Island Club is pleased to present two films at the 18th Lemesos International Documentary Festival: A. Paul B. Preciado’s Orlando: My Political Biography, proposed in collaboration with Queer Wave, and B. Alexandros Pissourios’s A full life, I suppose, a new work that premieres alongside a series of short films selected by the filmmaker.

A. Friday, 4 August 2023, 20:30, in collaboration with Queer Wave | Orlando: My Political Βiography, Paul B. Preciado, 2023, 75 minutes

What interests me in the film is taking a snapshot of a world in epistemological transition, of the passage from a binary and patriarchal epistemology to another way of thinking about subjectivity, the body, and love … Being trans is not just to transition from femininity to masculinity (or vice versa), but to engage in a process of internal “orlandisation”: a poetic journey in which a new language to name oneself and the world is invented. — Paul B. Preciado

In 1928, Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando, a novel in which the main character suddenly transforms from male to female in the middle of the story. Almost a century later, trans writer and activist Paul B. Preciado sends a film letter to Woolf, calling a cast of 25 different people, all trans and non-binary, from 8 years old to 70, to play the fictional character while also narrating their own lives. Meanwhile, a series of mid-20th century trans archives evoke the real, historical Orlandos in their struggle for recognition and visibility.

Paul B. Preciado (b. 1970, Burgos, Spain; lives and works in Paris) is a writer, philosopher, curator and one of the leading contemporary thinkers in the study of gender and body politics. Among his different assignments, he has been Curator of Public Programs at documenta 14 (Kassel/Athens), Curator of the Taiwan Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, and Head of Research of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA). His books, Countersexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press), Testo Junkie (The Feminist Press), Pornotopia (Zone Books), An Apartment in Uranus (Semiotexte and Fitzcarraldo), Can the Monster Speak (Semiotexte and Fitzcarraldo) and Dysphoria Mundi (Grasset, Graywolf and Fitzcarraldo) are a key reference in queer, trans and non-binary contemporary art and activism.

B. Tuesday, 8 August 2023, 20:30 | A full life, I suppose, Alexandros Pissourios, 2023, 25 minutes (in conversation with films by Maria Anastassiou, Luke Fowler, Margaret Salmon, Vicky Smith, Margaret Tait and Katerina Thomadaki, 1952–2021, 50 minutes)

Androulla Pissouriou: The first reaction is shock. Seeing yourself at 18-19 years old, and you are now 70, it’s a bit of a shock. Then you evaluate how you feel. How you felt back then. What you used to do… What frame of mind you were in, I guess, compared to now. But then you say, “This is how life is”. You go through it… You mature, you grow old, and you should appreciate every stage of your lifetime. You needn’t feel sad that you once were young… You should take a look at how you were and be glad that you existed like that—beautiful. I’m not regretful I existed like this… Joyful, beautiful, well-dressed, with my babies. I feel satisfied.
Alexandros Pissourios: So you wouldn’t want to be someone else.
Androulla Pissouriou: No. Someone else, no. Maybe I would have wanted to have a different life. Admittedly, I would’ve liked another partner. Someone else, I guess, someone different. But I like who I was. I wouldn’t want to be someone else. Have I answered ok?
Alexandros Pissourios: Yes.

A full life, I suppose is a filmic portrait of the time shared between the filmmaker and his mother, Androulla, combining new 16mm material shot during his recurring visits to Cyprus with Super 8mm footage shot by his father in the 1970s to chronicle the evolution of bodies and the desires that mark a life. Attempting to balance between observation and construction, the film captures dailiness and domesticity while transfiguring Androulla’s body and inhabited space through close-ups, double exposures and time-lapses. As segments of conversations between filmmaker and mother about her life wander mostly sync-free over the images, encounters with light and darkness in the nooks and furnishings of her otherwise ordinary dwelling arouse a sense of unreality.

The work premieres in dialogue with, and follows, And I wish you a happy life, a portrait of Pissourios’s time with his father which premiered at the Lemesos International Documentary Festival in 2020. It is presented alongside a series of short films, selected by the filmmaker, that explore and expand upon its themes.*

Alexandros Pissourios (b. 1982, Limassol, Cyprus; lives and works in London) is an artist and filmmaker. He works with photography as well as analogue and digital video. His filmmaking is motivated by observational attentiveness and carries an affinity to experimental traditions. Selected screenings and exhibitions include: Ineffable Islands, Space52, Athens (2021); And I wish you a happy life, 15th Lemesos International Documentary Festival, presented by The Island Club (2020); Terra Mediterranea: In Action, Leipzig, Germany (2017); 27th International Ankara Film Festival, Turkey (2016); LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Image, ICA, London (2012); On site, Barbican Exhibition Halls, London (2011); 25th London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, British Film Institute, London (2011).

* The screening programme presented in dialogue with A full life, I suppose comprises the following films:

Piano Practice, Maria Anastassiou, 2021, 8 mins

A short portrait of the filmmakers’ mother at her home in Nicosia, Cyprus, as she learns new skills following her retirement from an academic career in the medical sciences.

Mum’s Cards, Luke Fowler, 2018, 9 minutes

My mother is a Sociologist—she came to Glasgow from the south of England in the 1960s to work within the Politics Department of Glasgow University … Although the university advocated and furnished her with her own personal computer, she still used index cards to make notes on the books and articles that she read. Now that she no longer has an office, her house is filled with shoeboxes and filing cabinets containing these cards. [She] was absent on the day that I shot this film; the interview and sounds were recorded at a later date. — Luke Fowler

Ramapo Central, Margaret Salmon, 2003, 8 minutes

The third filmic portrait in Salmon’s series of American typographies, Ramapo Central is a feminist exploration of female middle-class identity, depicting the real and imagined life of a middle-aged woman and receptionist.

Re:Exposure, Vicky Smith, 2021, 10 minutes

A reflection on the exposure of skin to sun and of film to light and the environmental, social and hereditary factors that impact the ageing process, featuring close-ups of old photos of the filmmaker’s mother—and her mother—on the beach.

A Portrait of Ga, Margaret Tait, 1952, 5 minutes

My mother seemed a good subject for a portrait, (she was there), and I thought it offered a chance to do a sort of “abstract film”, in the sense that it didn’t have what you might call “the grammar of film.” It’s mostly discontinuous shots linked just by subject, in one case by colour, only rarely by movement. — Margaret Tait

Portrait De ma mere dans son jardin, Katerina Thomadaki, 1980, 10 minutes

In this film portrait, where the hieratic figure of the artist’s mother, her way of being one with the surrounding nature, contrasts with the vigour of the camera movements and the syncopated rhythm of the montage, something emerges [from] the intimate relationship uniting these two women. — Jeu de Paume

ORLANDO: MY POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY 4 August 2023, 20:30, Evagoras Lanitis Centre
A FULL LIFE, I SUPPOSE 8 August 2023, 20:30, Evagoras Lanitis Centre

TICKETS INFO www.filmfestival.com.cy/tickets