Part of Spring 1995
Pleasure Dome is pleased to present the world premiere of Barbara Sternberg’s new hour-long film, Beating. Hosting pictures never seen before on Toronto screens, Beating is impelled by an obsessive devotion to bodies sacred and profane, raised in the light of the every day to something akin to wonder. Sternberg’s deliberations on the body in middle age mark her as part of a menopausal avant-garde, these bodies shimmering in the light of a history too terrible to remember. Or to forget.
Sternberg rides fast into the flower of paradox. Tremors pulsate in the corolla of flesh as history. For doubt is both the power and propulsion of Beating. Jewish and feminist, Sternberg has erased love letters to make naked the empty between her legs, a mirror of history’s negation. Each filmic gesture soothes the guiding insult, filling the space with her version of love. But how can otherness make room for another? With the eye of a fetishist she searches the body’s topography for clues of oppression. And finds it here.
Barbara Sternberg is a long distance runner in the minefield of the avant-garde. She has produced ten films in the past seventeen years, each laboriously crafted, each casting a documentary stare strained through a personal mythology. Taking up issues of labour, repetition, sex and love, her films are haunted by a wandering and recall. Three years in the making, Beating is the latest chapter in Sternberg’s opus on flight and the fight.