16mm, color, 15 min
Keywords: Environment & Nature, Ethnic / Multicultural
A personal film about love and mortality.
"[Ciao Bella] shows a world of crowded, kinetic New York streets and hauntingly empty interior spaces, graced briefly by wisps of childish energy and the provocation of nearly naked women. Bromberg deftly contrasts that vibrant exuberance with a sense of devastating loss and the effect is at once brazenly personal (if elliptical) and incredibly powerful. Unfolding desire merges with the ever-present reality of the threat of losing what you love." . - Holly Willis, LA Weekly
"CIAO BELLA is a summer-in-the-city travelogue that mixes verite of Lower East Side Bikers, Times Square topless dancers, and Coney Island crowds to achieve a highly charged atmosphere of manic exhibitionism and sexual raunch."
- J. Hoberman, Artforum
16mm Rental: $55.00
Body Politic (god melts bad meat)
16mm, color, 38 min
Keywords: Family, Political / Social Activism, Science & Medicine, Spiritual / Mystical
Examines the relationship between high-technology medicine, religion, politics and the American family.
... travels through a realm of modern moral dilemma, as it examines the relationship between high-technology medicine, religion, politics, and the American family.
"The body, culture and nature are also at stake in BODY POLITIC, a film that goes to a hospital operating room, research laboratories and a family picnic to outline the issues raised by genetic experimentation. With her typical serious humor, Bromberg explores both the claims of science (we can improve human life) and the claims of religion (God made perfect beings) and implicitly asks the question, 'How do we know when we've gone too far?' ... There's no voice-over and the argument is made by an athletic juxtaposition and testimony."
- Helen Knode, LA Weekly
Selective Exhibition: London Film Festival, 1989; Rotterdam Film Festival, 1990; Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1990.
16mm Rental: $160.00
Darkness Swallowed, A
16mm, color, 78 min
"A Darkness Swallowed opens on a pair of faded photographs showing an old dented car, one with a child standing beside it and the other without. Speaking in voice-over, Bromberg references a past event, once that will forever haunt her although it occurred before her birth. The film then sinks downward, dipping below the surface of the rational world to mine the seemingly infinite layers of the past stored within the fleshy entrails, chalky bones, sinewy spider webs and gnarled ligaments of both the body and the Earth. Noises - of clanging metal, bells, heartbeats and jazz music, to name only a few - combine to create a dense sound environment, a seemingly immense, three dimensional space for contemplation. As with all of Bromberg's films, there are images that, once seen, will stay with you forever, and then there are the colors - rich, luscious hues to be savored slowly. Dedicated to the filmmaker's mother, the film is also a gift to us, a reminder of cinema's organic basis in chemistry and light, and of its ability to take us deep inside."
- Holly Willis, L.A. Weekly
16mm Rental: $240.00
16mm, color & b/w, 59 min
'An opus to the evolution of civilisation.' - B.B.
'Ravishing' - Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
'An hour long and seven years in the making, Divinity Gratis locates personal experience and subjective vision in a history of the human species, culminating the technological revolutions that dominate the last years of the millennium. References to the atomic bomb and the moon landing, often incongruous or ironic, form a grid on which movement up from primeval elements through the appearance of animals and buildings to the modern city and the worlds of contemporary science and religion, culminating in a more lyrical section in which a young woman Bromberg herself is introduced into a condensed recapitulation of the whole film. Unconstrainedly eclectic and ranging freely among biological close-ups, museum dioramas, Gothic cathedrals, workers in the Los Angeles sex industries, and the Trinity Site on the White Sands Missile Range, where the first atomic bomb was tested, the imagery is almost all made over into the filmmaker#s visual idiolect, where color, texture and camera movement provide for a sensual improvisatory montage#' - David James (2005) from The Most Typical Avant-Garde - History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles
'Divinity Gratis explores time and space, starting at the beginning of the world, with molten rock and water in sequences that are exquisite in their sensuousness. Bromberg#s ability to meld ideas and images is perhaps best exemplified in this work, which is truly breathtaking in its conceptual sweep. One line seems to unify the film # a voice repeats on the soundtrack, #A girl, blind from birth, saw the flash#. The flash references an atomic blast, and thus links the film#s beginning section, which is all about origins, and the film#s suggestion of apocalypse, death and the infinite sweep of time.' - Holly Willis, LA Weekly
16mm Rental: $235.00
16mm, color, 24 min
Co-directed with Laura Ewig
A woman's response to technology/the jet-lag of birth.
"Although the title refers to a condition of acute malnutrition in which a child is unable to assimilate food, the film is a robust and sumptuous offering. This is no rough-edged, craft-resistant effort. Rather it is infused with a seductive glamour."
- Janis Crystal Lipzin, Artweek
"If there are certain iconic images that represent the obscure history of the American avant-garde cinema, one of them has to be from Marasmus (1981), the extraordinary experimental film by Betzy Bromberg and Laura Ewig. The image is of a woman's face pressed flat, white and distorted against glass, two hands splayed on each side. She could be pushing against an invisible boundary, or easing through a clear membrane as if being born; either way, the image exemplifies L.A.-based Bromberg's uncanny ability for uniting a philosophical perspective and an almost mythically emotional sensitivity. Like some of the best feminist experimental work of the 1980s and '90s, Bromberg's films invariably reverberate in this space in between, refusing both the cheerless material analysis of one strand of experimental production and the politically disengaged poetic investigation advocated in other camps of the avant-garde. Instead, her films play on multiple levels, merging politics and poetry, and reveling in the resultant tensions. With Marasmus, Bromberg merges strange and abject images of confinement and escape with a coldly technological environment, and she pits the desire for continuity and coherence against the pure pleasure of drifting through images Bromberg's work has plenty to teach us about formal experimentation and the magic of juxtaposition." - Holly Willis, LA Weekly
16mm Rental: $100.00
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