Lives of Performers
Of all Yvonne Rainer's films, this 1972 first feature most clearly bridges her formidable career as an avant-garde dancer and choreographer and her subsequent work as an experimental filmmaker. Shot in ravishing black and white by Babette Mangolte, its 14 fiction and nonfiction episodes chronicle and/or comment on Rainer's performances, using sound and intertitles in various inventive and unorthodox ways and concentrating on issues of power and gender that culminate in a reenactment of the movie stills that illustrate the published screenplay of Pandora's Box, the silent G.W. Pabst film starring Louise Brooks. Rainer's dry vernacular humor is also much in evidence, bouncing off her feminism: "Well you know, Shirley, that I have always had a weakness for the sweeping revelations of great men."