Journeys from Berlin/1971

Director: Yvonne Rainer
USA / 1979 / 125 min

Last streamed on Fri, Feb 26

Q&A with Yvonne Rainer, moderated by Gregg Bordowitz.

This film is presented in collaboration with Primary Information, the publisher of Yvonne Rainer’s Work 1961-73.

Frustration is the key in which dancer/choreographer-turned-filmmaker Yvonne Rainer’s exquisite Journeys from Berlin/1971 is set. Through excerpts of Rainer’s own diary as a teenager, psychoanalytic sessions (starring esteemed film theorist Annette Michelson) that offer no real relief, quotidian exchanges between a couple (voiced by legendary video artist Vito Acconci and another esteemed film writer, Amy Taubin), and critiques of state-sponsored violence in West Berlin, South Africa, and the United States, the audience is forced to sit with a lack of agency over personal and political issues. Such intractable problems echo our own experiences of the pandemic—things go nowhere, and we cannot force them to change, regardless of how deep our convictions run. But this rhyme with today is but one of the insightful and intense feelings that Rainer’s dense, fractured, and narrative-free film conjures. Special thanks to Zeitgeist Films.

Gregg Bordowitz is an artist, writer, and teacher whose career retrospective, I Wanna To Be Well, will open at MoMA PS1, New York, in May 2021, after previously showing at Cooley Art Gallery of Reed College, Portland in 2018 and Art Institute of Chicago in 2019.