Anthology Film Archives


February 24 – February 25

In conjunction with her upcoming exhibition at Bridget Donahue Gallery, we host filmmaker Mary Helena Clark for two programs, one featuring a selection of her 16mm and digital works, and the other – selected by Clark – pairing three of her films with thematically related works by Michael Snow, Rosemarie Trockel, and Charlotte Prodger.

Clark’s films are constructed – sometimes from found materials, but mostly from Clark’s own footage – in ways that privilege atmosphere, intuitive connections, evocative collisions, or striking juxtapositions, rather than conventional narrative or documentary logic. Though each film has its own visual and aural texture and set of motifs, they are unmistakably the work of a single – and singular – artist, in part because of their highly refined sensitivity to the relationship between sound and image, and above all because of their profoundly hypnotic quality.

In Clark’s body of work, “hypnotic” is more than a metaphorically descriptive term. The effect is sometimes achieved indirectly (thanks to the films’ carefully designed and precise soundtracks, or the meditative rhythms of the editing and pacing) and sometimes more explicitly (as a result of her play with direct address to the viewer, her straddling of the line between representation and abstraction, or, in AND THE SUN FLOWERS, by devoting the soundtrack to a guided-meditation tape). But one way or the other, Clark’s films induce a response that is uncannily suggestive of hypnosis, drawing the viewer into a paradoxical combination of a dreamlike state and a hyper-sensitivity to sound and image. Under the spell she casts, the world seems charged with mystery, replete with strange, hidden signals or messages – whether embedded in wallpaper, in jet trails, in the behavior of pedestrians, in the slow tilting of a horizon line. Her images (and sounds) are pregnant with a meaning that remains just out of reach, even as the films impart a conviction that, on a subconscious level, that meaning has been made legible.

For more info about Clark’s exhibition at Bridget Donahue Gallery, which will be on view from January 25-March 21, 2024, visit: 

In March we’ll present screenings of A COMMON SEQUENCE, a new feature film co-directed by Clark and Mike Gibisser. Stay tuned for more details.

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