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Shirley Clarke16mm, color, sound, 7.5 minRental format: 16mm
Born October 2, 1919 in New York, Shirley Brimberg Clarke danced into the world of art in her teens, studying with such innovative choreographers as Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Doris Humphrey.
After marrying and having a daughter, Clarke turned her talents to cinema, becoming an esteemed filmmaker at a time when few women worked in the field. Her early shorts reflected her lifelong love of dance along with a growing mastery of the new medium. In her award-winning A Dance in the Sun (1953), In Paris Parks (1954), Bullfight (1955) and A Moment in Love (1957), Clarke captured movement on film in a new way, eschewing close-ups in favor of long takes and innovative editing. An active member and advocate of New York’s independent film community, Clarke later turned her attention to social-issue filmmaking.
For a director whose films were designed to unsettle audiences, perhaps the most shocking aspect of Clarke’s career is her lack of recognition today. Although acknowledged as a major influence by many current filmmakers, there is not one single book devoted to her work, nor has there been a significant re-release of her films.