A Salon with Lynne Sachs — 10/25/18


Please join Canyon Cinema for the next installment of our Salon series with filmmaker and Canyon board member Lynne Sachs, who will be presenting A Biography of Lilith (1997). A prismatic and deeply personal meditation on the Lilith story, Biography freely mixes documentary portraiture and memoir, cabalistic text and original poetry, dramatization and impressionistic camerawork, sculpture and song. The evening will also feature a live reading by Lizzie Olesker, a New York-based playwright and co-director with Sachs on The Washing Machine (screening at BAMPFA on Wednesday, October 24th), as well as two feminist meditations on the body from the Canyon collection: Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley’s proto-punk assemblage, Schmeerguntz (1965), and Greta Snider’s quietly revelatory Blood Story (1990).

The Canyon Cinema Salon Series is a FREE event hosted at at 16 Sherman St, off Folsom between 6th and 7th in SOMA.

7:00pm – Reception
7:30pm* – Screening and discussion.
*Note: Street entrance locked at 7:30 – please arrive on time.

Program will include:

A Biography of Lilith by Lynne Sachs (1997, 35min, color, sound)

In a lively mix of off-beat narrative, collage and memoir, A BIOGRAPHY OF LILITH updates the creation myth by telling the story of the first woman and for some, the first feminist. Lilith’s betrayal by Adam in Eden and subsequent vow of revenge is recast as a modern tale with present-day Lilith (Cherie Wallace) musing on a life that has included giving up a baby for adoption and work as a bar dancer. Interweaving mystical texts from Jewish folklore with interviews, music and poetry, Sachs reclaims this cabalistic parable to frame her own role as a mother.

“The true story of this not so mythical, mythic first female. Sachs’ film conveys the real experience — bloody and poetic — of Lilith alive and now in every woman. Bravo! A film felt, imagined, and informed by life.” – Barbara Black Koltuv, Ph. D. Clinical Psychologist, Jungian Analyst, and Author of The Book of Lilith

“Sachs’ art for fusing documentary and experimental narrative is unquestionably enormous. In this new film, her combination of an interview with a friend, the myth of Lilith and beauteous images of things like jelly fish (which float like iridescent breasts on screen) culminates in stunning cinema.” Molly Hankwitz, Art Papers

Schmeerguntz by Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley (1966, 15 min., B&W, sound)

“SCHMEERGUNTZ is one long raucous belch in the face of the American Home. A society which hides its animal functions beneath a shiny public surface deserves to have such films as SCHMEERGUNTZ shown everywhere – in every PTA, every Rotary Club, every club in the land. For it is brash enough, brazen enough and funny enough to purge the soul of every harried American married woman.” – Ernest Callenbach, Film Quarterly

Blood Story by Greta Snider (1990, 3 min., color, sound)

BLOOD STORY is a simultaneous progression of three divergent tales; a soundtrack of eavesdropped “girltalk,” a subtitled story of a troublesome spot, and a series of images that fluidly peruse the two. The pictures articulate the space between one threatening, and one intimate, experience of the same symbolic matter.

“… cuts below the surface of sexual relations.” – Ann Powers, SF Weekly

Lizzie Olesker reading from INFINITE MINIATURE, a solo play about motherhood, memory, and stories held in everyday objects. Lizzie is a New York City playwright and a recent collaborator with Lynne Sachs on the hybrid film THE WASHING SOCIETY which will screen at the PFA 10/24 and Other Cinema 10/27.


Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with each and every new project. Between 1994 and 2009, her five essay films took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany – sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Since 2006, she has collaborated with her partner Mark Street in a series of playful, mixed-media performance collaborations they call The XY Chromosome Project. In addition to her work with the moving image, Lynne co-edited the Millennium Film Journal issue on “Experiments in Documentary”. Supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts, Lynne’s films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival. Recently, Lynne began a series of live film performances of Your Day is My Night in alternative theater spaces around New York City. She then completed the hour-long hybrid video which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art and screened at the Vancouver Film Fest, Union Docs, the New Orleans Film Fest and other venues in the US and abroad. In 2014, the China Women’s Film Festival hosted Lynne in Beijing and Shanghai during a mini-retrospective of her films. Lynne was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts and will be a visiting artist at Princeton University in fall 2016. For more info: www.lynnesachs.com