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Breakthrough, October 1978
Page 9
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Breakthrough, October 1978 - Page 9. October 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. January 29, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4337/show/4333.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1978). Breakthrough, October 1978 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4337/show/4333

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough, October 1978 - Page 9, October 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed January 29, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4337/show/4333.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Breakthrough, October 1978
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1978
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • Periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 12 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 9
File Name femin_201109_544g.jpg
Transcript words to a popular song explain the scene. "You see, if I loved you it was for your hair, now that you are hairless I don't love you any more." Kahlo makes a joke of her retaliation; cutting off a symbol of femininity is no more than an illustration for a popular song. Like other Mexican artists of her time, Kahlo drew upon her Indian ancestry and upon Mexican colonial and popular art forms such as retablos (ex votos) and pulqueria murals for her bright colors, naive drawing, and easily identifiable subject matter. But beyond this enthusiasm for Mexicanismo, Kahlo's work differed radically from the work of her Mexican contemporaries in its candor and willingness to display its woman's content un- censored. Henry Ford Hospital was painted in 1932 after one of her miscarriages. Kahlo lies naked on a hospital bed with sheets soaked in blood, clutching to her still swollen stomach six red bloodlines, each tied like an umbilical cord to some aspect of the loss of the embryo-her damaged pelvis, a purple passion flower, the embryo itself. The hospital bed seems to be floating in contrast with the solid footing of Chicago's industrial skyline in the background, echoing the contrast between the dehumanization of production- line technology and the intimate personal crisis of a miscarriage that the advances of technology could not prevent. Kahlo confronted life armed with the same strength and candor with which she approached her canvas. Between hospital bouts, she travelled back and forth from her home in Coyoacan to Paris and the United States, visiting and entertaining a cosmopolitan assortment of intellectuals, left-wing political leaders, and artists such as Surrealist Andre Breton and the retired Dadaist, Marcel Duchamp. Less than a year before her death, Kahlo's first major exhibition of paintings in her native country opened at Mexico City's Gallery of Contemporary Art. It was 1953 and her spine had deteriorated to a point where she could no longer walk. Although Mexico knew Kahlo for her "alegria" in the face of suffering, no one expected her to attend the opening. Her arrival in an ambulance, wheeled in to recline on her own four-poster bed, dressed in one of her beloved long, flowing Mexican Indian costumes and adorned with jewels, ribbons, flowers and combs, turned the opening into a songfest as friends, artists, and critics joined her in singing Mexican ballads until well past midnight. This use of drama and spectacle to put distance between her public and private selves is also used by Kahlo in her paintings, where it puts distance between the viewer and the agony of her images, making bearable the view directly into her open wounds. In an essay on Kahlo's work, Diego Rivera wrote, "Frida is the only example in the history of art of an artist who tore open her chest and heart to reveal the biological truth of her feelings." Kahlo often painted herself literally torn open. A narrow opening from neck to abdomen in Columna Rota reveals her broken spine in the form of a crumbling Ionic column. In Roots, she opens her abdomen once more, but this time the revelation is the continuity of life rather than its fragility. Her torso gives birth to huge vines that spread out over the rocky terrain, their delicate red veins extending through and beyond the leaves, interconnecting; reflecting both Kahlo's longing to connect with life through childbirth, and her belief that all the universe is interconnected. Although she painted her own unique and viscerally feminine experiences, Kahlo's paintings are anything but private. The images she created reveal the universality of such female biological themes. Nor is her work morbid in spite of the specter of death with which she lived daily. Clearly, the most important fact of Frida Kahlo's life was her art. "I am not sick," she said at her 1953 exhibit, "I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint." Mexican artist Juan O'Gorman saw Kahlo's work as a triumph over illness, "In Frida's paintings there is nothing but health, the health of telling everything and of having overcome everything. What more could we ask of a human being than that she give us her whole self as did Frida Kahlo, woman without equal, painter of genius." ON FILM: A Woman's Vision by Janice Blue "The huge theatres are all gone. Bad pictures did it. Today I think they are all full of bad taste. They have lost their beauty. Films are nickleodeon again only they don 7 cost a nickle. " -Lillian Gish I hope Lillian Gish sees Joyce Wieland's film, The Far Shore. She will find that lost beauty in the richness of this first feature work by Wieland, a distinguished Canadian artist (one of the first to exhibit her work in the National Gallery of Ottawa) and a respected filmmaker with 20 years of documentary film credits. The two directors* did meet ever so briefly a few years ago around Gish's appearance on a Toronto television program. Wieland was watching and heard Gish conpare acting to painting. "That image really struck me. I thought of Gish in her films, how she was always outside herself, how she was always watching herself on the screen- seeing the shapes she was making, the arcs, the steps, the posture. I ran to the studio to meet her just as she was being escorted into a taxi, just in time to take her hand and say, 'You'll never know what you mean to me. I hope we'll meet again.' " Wieland spent the next five years researching, writing, casting, and producing The Far Shore which showed at the Museum of Fine Arts in September and ran recently at the Greenway Theatre. In its subtlety and sensitivity The Far Shore is more a film of the silent era than of the talkies. It is not an action film; rather the film movement builds by looks, expressions, gestures. It is a love story. A romance with a tragic ending. Wieland's film is a story about the sensibility of a young woman pianist who marries a wealthy developer to escape the rigid society of French-Catholic Quebec in 1919. Her real escape, she discovers when she moves to urban Ontario, comes through her music, which she is asked to refrain from playing while her husband conducts business in their spacious quarters, and also through her friendship with a landscape painter who lives as a backwoodsman and appreciates DeBussy and Mozart. Eulalie, the heroine of Wieland's film is not unlike a description Haskell once gave to Lillian Gish: "She is flowerlike and naive, delicate as a figurine but durable as an ox." Like the D. W. Griffith herione, Eulalie's fascination arises from a contradiction between her daintiness and her ferocity. "I wanted to show that Eulalie's sense of herself through her music gave her an identity," Wieland says. "That's why in a desperate way she clung to it. That's why it gave her the feeling she could talk back, because she had this power, this certain power that gave her a sense of worthiness." The inspiration for Eulalie was Marie Antionette Leveque, the filmmaker's mother-in-law. Madame Leveque was brought up in the "old, old French way." Her father was the mayor of a northern Quebec town and at age eight she was sent to a convent school in Massachusetts run by an order of nuns who were known to be the best teachers of art and music. "It was the young girls' development center," Wieland says. "By age 16 my mother-in-law had gone far with the piano and wanted to return to Quebec and become a concert pianist. No daughter just played and slowly people drifted in. It was so beautiful. People wept. Celine Lomez (the actress who plays Eulalie) brought her flowers. Her four granddaughters were sitting there. They had studied music with her privately. It was so touching, that they could see their grandmother have this public moment." The filming of The Far Shore created a close, family-like feeling among the actors and crew, centered especially around Celine Lomez, the actress who played Eulalie. "She was so beautiful. Everyone loved her," says Wieland. "Our 19 year- old film assistant, Anne Russell, bicycled to her hotel every morning to bring her a little bouquet or some fruit." Lomez began her film career with appearances in exploitation films. Her portrayal of Eulalie helped her achieve an image of herself as a serious actress. She went on to Hollywood to study at the Actors Studio. In spite of the film project's happy ending for Lomez, the warmth and intimacy enjoyed by all the participants, and the general success of the film in cities where it has been released, Wieland frankly admits, "I've been beaten around with this film. Many reviewers do not "I've been beaten around with this film. Many reviewers do not know how to handle it because it's different." of mine will ever work was the attitude. She obeyed her father. It really, really hurt her. It hurt her life. But she never stopped playing the piano. She just got better." This year at age 75 Madame Leveque gave her first public concert. The occasion was the premiere of The Far Shore at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Wieland describes the evening: "They had this huge court and they brought in a grand piano for her. She said to me, 'Look, if I am going to play, don't tell them I am going to play. I will just play.' There were almost 1000 people in the lobby having drinks when a voice over the p.a. system quietly announced that Marie Antionette Leveque, the. inspiration for Eulalie, was playing in the courtyard. She didn't hear that. She know how to handle it because it is different. After a while you start to believe there is some deep imperfection in what you've done. It wears away at you." The same audiences who loved The Dirty Dozen, Deliverance, The French Connection, and The Godfather may not be ready for a film like The Far Shore. A film about art, tenderness, beauty. "I can't walk into film houses anymore," says Wieland. "I don't like having violent fantasies imposed on me. Where are the films about hearing, seeing, smelling, dreaming? The vision of women could lead us to a new place." * Actress Lillian Gish directed several films during the silent era. OCTOBER HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH