University of Rochester

EVENT: Filmmaker Participates in Screenings of Avant-Garde Films

October 10, 2006

Puerto Rican filmmaker Jose Rodriguez-Soltero, a significant figure of New York avant-garde film, will present his 1967 work Lupe at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Dryden Theatre of the George Eastman House. The program, which concludes the three-week "Lives of Performers" series, also includes the screening of Andy Warhol's 1966 work, Hedy.

Lupe is Rodríguez-Soltero's improvised retelling of the rise and fall of Hollywood celebrity Lupe Velez. Starring Mario Montez, a drag queen and underground superstar, the film showcases dreamy superimpositions, tacky glamour, and rich color. Rodríguez-Soltero's other films include the 1968 Dialogue with Che and the 1965 Jerovi.

The film will be followed by a discussion between Rodríguez-Soltero and Douglas Crimp, the Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester and curator of the "Lives of Performers" series.

Hedy provides a fictionalized and surrealistic rendition of the decline of glamorous 1940s movie star Hedy Lamarr. Also played by Montez, Lamarr visits a plastic surgeon to be transformed into the "14-year-old girl" she believes herself to be. She is caught shoplifting and is consequently put on trial. Her five ex-husbands sit on the jury while the star, constantly posing and primping herself, remains self-centered and detached.

The "Lives of Performers" series presents special screenings of classic avant-garde films from the American Underground and the Viennese Actionists of the 1960s that document or otherwise contribute to the development of performance art. The program is one of 10 projects funded by the Humanities Project, a year-long initiative at the University of Rochester emphasizing the influence and contributions of the humanities to academic and civic life.

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