Sadie Benning films at Pera online
Pera Film presents a retrospective selection of films and short videos by Sadie Benning, one of the leading figures of experimental cinema in the U.S. In a program titled “Sadie Benning: Resilience Diaries,” six of Benning’s works will be presented online.
Benning began making videos at the age of 15, using a Fisher Price Pixelvision toy camera. Benning’s early works were made in the privacy of their childhood bedroom, using scrawled and handwritten text from diary entries to record thoughts and images that reveal the longings and complexities of a developing identity.
Evoking in turn playful seduction and painful honesty, Benning’s floating, close-up camera functions as a witness to their intimate revelations, and as an accomplice in defining their evocative experimental form. Sadie’s work emerges from a place half-innocent and half-adult with all the honesty, humor, and desperation of a personality just coming into self-awareness, trapped and uneasy.
Despite the attention that these movies received, the works were developed at a time, as Benning now reflects, before they fully understood their transgender, nonbinary identity. Their more recent work moves beyond the Pixelvision camera and into animation, film and installation.
The program, which kicked off on March 8, will continue through March 22 and feature “Living Inside,” a short film that expresses the sadness and isolation Benning experienced at 16, when she took a three-week retreat from school; “If Every Girl Had a Diary,” where her camera, acting alternately as confessor and accuser, captures Benning’s anger and frustration at feeling trapped by social prejudices; “Girl Power,” a video inspired by the “riot grrrl” movement, expressing Benning’s personal rebellion against school, family, and female stereotypes; “It Wasn’t Love,” which illustrates Benning’s lustful encounter with a “bad girl,” through the gender posturing and genre interplay of Hollywood stereotypes; “The Judy Spots,” which introduces Judy, a paper maché puppet who ruminates on her position in society; and “German Song,” a short film shot in black and white super 8, that follows a wandering, disengaged youth.
The films will be streamed at peramuseum.org and will only be accessible to online audiences in Turkey.