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Melissa Pearl Friedling

Last Name: 
Friedling
First Name: 
Melissa Pearl

In addition to making her own quirky, humorous work, Mel Friedling teaches film theory and film production, most recently at Syracuse University. She is also the author of Recovering Women: Feminisms and the Representation of Addiction (2000). She'll present a program of recent work including Mercedes, Here Lies the Heart, a film dedicated to the memory of poet, novelist, play write, and Hollywood screenwriter Mercedes de Acosta; The Princess and the Pee Stain, which explores the consequences of stripping the sheets and revealing your naked mattress to strangers; and Urine My Bed, an examination of what happens when you are done with your mattress and put it out on the street for trash. For complete line-up, see below. Her visit is cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts. Mercedes, Here Lies the Heart (16mm, 35mins., 2002) is dedicated to the memory of poet, novelist, play write, and Hollywood screenwriter, Mercedes de Acosta. Mercedes is inspired by De Acosta's own published memoirs, Here Lies the Heart (1960) in which De Acosta obsessively lists her impressive cache of celebrity acquaintances (including Elenora Duse, Isadora Duncan, Alice B. Toklas, Marlene Dietrich, and Greta Garbo, among others). The film borrows De Acosta's hyperbolic stylistics to move through archival footage, narrative fantasy sequences, and dramatic "reenactments" in manic combination of varied genre forms. While highlighting De Acosta's distinctive passions for celebrity and her own sexual, ethnic, and spiritual entanglements, Mercedes poses questions about biographical structure and autobiographical representation, history and fantasy, identity and desire. The Princess and the Pee Stain (16mm film, 3:30 mins., 2003) combines animation, live action, and found footage and recounts the story of what happened when the artist bought a new bed. Explores the consequences of stripping the sheets and revealing your naked mattress to strangers. Urine My Bed (16mm film, color/sound, 3:30 mins., 2003). When you are done with your mattress and put it out on the street for trash, the residual evidence of your very private history is on view for public appraisal. The Ice Maiden (digital video, 2:40 mins., 2003). After living through six winters in Syracuse, NY, the filmmaker could relate to the Ice Maiden's deceptive scheme to lure young men into her icy cave. Let Down Your Hair (16mm film, 6 mins., 2003). The film combines animation with found footage and live action for a more personal reinterpretation of the Brothers Grimm's Rapunzel. The heroine is able to grow her hair long at will (and not just on her head) in order to escape the witch's clutches. When she is finally free, she realizes the witch had her good qualities as well. The Anosmia Project: Phases I-IV (digital video, TRT 12mins., 2002) An experimental documentary that explores the logic of smell and attempts to create an experience of smell for those who cannot. The origins of The Anosmia Project lie in the fact that half of the filmmaker's family (not her) has a congenital disorder called anosmia -- the inability to smell. Foreign Things that Come In and Out of My Mouth (digital video 11 mins., 2002) Foreign Things is a personal video essay that examines the filmmaker's status as an American abroad and a young woman alone during a 5-month-long residency in northern Portugal. Setting out every day with a video camera and a mission to visit several cafZùs and order a pastry and coffee at every one, she waited for something to happenä. For more information visit: http://ziris.syr.edu/~drmelf/