LES VAMPIRES & MUSIDORA
October 22 – October 25
In honor of the 100th anniversary of LES VAMPIRES (1915), Anthology Film Archives presents a tribute featuring the newly restored version, along with films by Olivier Assayas, Henri d’Ursel, and Michelle Handelman. Directed by Louis Feuillade and starring the vamp of French cinema, Musidora, as the anagrammatical Irma Vep, LES VAMPIRES is one of a trilogy of serials Feuillade made for Gaumont Studios, alongside FANTOMAS (1913) and JUDEX (1916).
Musidora was the irresistible icon of early French cinema. Among the first actresses to be recognized as a public figure, she used her stardom to become one of the first female feature film directors as well as a writer, painter, novelist, and playwright. Her characterization of Irma Vep represented a new type of liberated woman: a cinematic anti-heroine whose power and intelligence broke free of accepted gender norms. Musidora often collaborated with the writer Colette with whom she formed an artistic commune in Paris during the 1920s, and in her later years she worked closely with Henri Langlois at the Cinémathèque Française.
Filmmaker and professor Michelle Handelman has been researching Musidora for her latest project IRMA VEP, THE LAST BREATH, which imagines an encounter between Irma Vep and her therapist. She has organized a series of screenings, readings, and performances that examine the cultural impact of LES VAMPIRES and illuminate Musidora’s vast body of work as a lost piece of feminist film history. In addition to the screenings here at Anthology, events will take place at the Fashion Institute of Technology (a lecture on Musidora’s legacy), Participant, Inc. (a reading of Musidora’s texts), and Microscope Gallery (a live film and musical performance with MV Carbon). For more info visit: fitfilmandmedia.wordpress.com; participantinc.org; and microscopegallery.com.
Organized in collaboration with Michelle Handelman. Co-sponsored by the Film and Media program at The Fashion Institute of Technology and the Fine Arts Department at School of Visual Arts, New York City, and presented with invaluable support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
All three programs will be introduced by Michelle Handelman, who will speak about the life and work of Musidora.