Our City Dreams

Our City Dreams

Director: Chiara Clemente, Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith

Cast: Chiara Clemente, Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith

     
 
Filmmaker Chiara Clemente profiles five diverse female artists, each of whom calls New York City home, in this intimate documentary. In the late '50s and '60s, Nancy Spero was on the front lines of the feminist movement. Today she creates art that challenges the polemics of warfare and sexual identity.

Overview

Filmmaker Chiara Clemente profiles five diverse female artists, each of whom calls New York City home, in this intimate documentary. In the late '50s and '60s, Nancy Spero was on the front lines of the feminist movement. Today she creates art that challenges the polemics of warfare and sexual identity. Pioneering performance artist Marina Abramovic, meanwhile, responds to contemporary cultural issued by using her body as a canvas. Glass, plaster, ceramic, bronze, and paper provide Kiki Smith with the appropriate tools to address philosophical, social, and spiritual aspects of the human body, and Ghada Amer rails against "institutionalized feminism" by painting erotic canvases with traditional needle and thread. Lastly, emerging New York artist Swoon creates vibrant street art that amplifies the pulse of urban life. Over the course of the two years in which Our City Dreams was shot, each artist faces triumphs and challenges that give the viewer a tantalizing glimpse into the creative process.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Chiara Clemente's Our City Dreams couldn't have arrived at a better time. Finished in 2008 and issued in America in early 2009, the film is a documentary about five women artists whose careers have taken them to New York City, evidently for keeps; it revels in "otherness" adapted -- all of this just as the United States elected and inaugurated a president who is a first-generation American. Clemente herself is Italian-born and a resident of both Italy and America, and perhaps as a result of her own "otherness" to New York and the United States, her camera (aided by editor Martin Levenstein) is able to capture the experience of discovery in the lives of each of these women, whose arrivals in the city were spread across five different decades. Only in the case of Kiki Smith, who grew up in New Jersey and, thus, hardly made an odyssey in moving to New York, does the discovery process seem a bit less substantive. (Nancy Spero, though long-associated with the city, lived in Paris for many years before trying New York.) As to the rest of the subject matter, even for those who are skeptical about "performance art," Clemente and Marina Abramovic make the strongest case possible for the latter's work; the art of the rest of the women in the film is also represented well. The movie is also fascinating for the positive, welcoming image it presents of New York City, something that one doesn't always hear about -- Swoon's work is perhaps the most interesting in that regard, as she uses the flotsam and jetsam of the urban landscape as part of her canvas and materials, and seems to have arrived in the city with the least substantial cushion, yet has succeeded in making a career. It has been some time since New York has been depicted as quite so exclusively a benign and fertile environment. The overall effect of the film is bracing in its spirit and also a refresher course in some of the permutations of what is now regarded as feminist art across the decades.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/23/2009
UPC:
0720229913812
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
NR
Source:
First Run Features
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
62,374

Special Features

Short film; Artist biographies

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Our City Dreams
1. Opening Credits [1:57]
2. Swoon [13:31]
3. Ghada Amer [15:51]
4. Kiki Smith [16:50]
5. Marina Abramovic [16:58]
6. Nancy Spero [18:58]
7. End Credits [3:15]

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