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Bruce LaBruce inside Pasolini: transgressive filmmaker is in London this April

Canadian provocateur travels to London this April for a string of events at the BFI, the Rich Mix, and a sexually explicit film/exhibition inspired by Pasolini's Theorem at arts organisation a/political - in partnership with DMovies and Doesn't Exist

London-based arts organisation a/political presents The Visitor, a new sexually explicit body of work by artist and filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Theorem (1968). The production of The Visitor will be filmed on-site at a/political between April 14th and 27th, with the public presentation of the project taking place between April 28th and 30th. A number of supporting events will take place during the entire month (scroll down for the full list).

Foregrounding sexual liberation, as well as bi- and homosexual revolutions, Bruce LaBruce continues to challenge the dominant and arbitrary heteronormative paradigm. “I’ve found that the best strategy as an artist or filmmaker for the insurgent re-investigation of cinema is to explore the sexual subtext of the original and make itas explicit as possible for maximum effect. I came to the conclusion that if you are going to make a film about sexual revolution, it’s best to put your Marxism where your mouth is and make the movie sexually explicit, or even better, pornographic, prioritising praxis over theory,” says Bruce LaBruce.

In Pasolini’s original, Terence Stamp plays a mysterious character only identified in the credits as The Visitor. The origin of this character is never explained, as he infiltrates an upper class Milanese family, gains their trust, and seduces them one by one – the frustrated mother, the alienated father, the delicate son, the innocent daughter, and the devoutly religious maid. It follows the artist’s interest in Freud’s concept of Family Romance – a neurotic symptom Freud observed in children, which would lead to sexual tensions within the family unit.

Cast and produced in London, LaBruce intends to reverse the dominating rhetoric in politics and the press on the sexualised violence of refugees. The ‘alien’ instead becomes a sexual healer, a sensitive subject he has explored before through the trope of the Black male’s sexual potency as a threat to the ‘domesticated’ white bourgeois sexual repression. “It makes sense in a contemporary British context to represent the Visitor as a racial minority considering the xenophobia and paranoia about immigration currently displayed in Europe, not only by the increasingly vocal extreme right wing elements actually gaining political traction and governmental representation, but more vaguely by traditionally colonialist countries in general that have previously “invaded” other countries of different ethnic majorities as hostile “aliens” themselves,” says Bruce LaBruce.

The project with a/political will take place concurrently with the launch of Doesn’t Exist Magazine’s tribute to Bruce LaBruce, for which LaBruce has curated part of the a/political collection. A retrospective of Bruce LaBruce’s work will also be held at RichMix in April, showcasing some of the artist’s iconic works exploring sexual taboos and liberation.

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The events

  • Public preview: April 21st, 18:00 – 21:00 (at a/political, located at The Bacon Factory, 6 Stannary Street, Kennington);
  • Public exhibition: April 28th to 30th, 10:00 – 18:00 daily (also at a/political);
  • Hustler White (1996) screening on April 7th (with remote Q&A with Bruce LaBruce) at the Rich Mix (click here for tickets);
  • Photo exhibition ‘Rethinking Pasolini’s Theorem: A Doesn’t Exist Fashion Story by Bruce LaBruce’ will be presented at Rich Mix from April 18th to May 23rd, with reception 17:00 on April 18th;
  • An Evening with Bruce LaBruce, Rich Mix Main Stage, Tuesday, April 18th between 18:45 – 23:00. It includes a 19:00 screening of Saint Narcisse (2020), 21:00 Conversation with Bruce and very special guests (tbc) hosted by Victor Fraga and pre-launch of Doesn’t Exist Magazine’s tribute to Bruce LaBruce (click here for tickets);
  • Theorem (1968) + intro and debate with Bruce LaBruce, BFI Southbank, Thursday, 25th April between 18:00 – 21:00. Doesn’t Exist magazine launch (click here for tickets); and
  • Raspberry Reich (2004) screening on April 29th, 19:00 at a/political..

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About Bruce LaBruce

Bruce LaBruce is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and artist based in Toronto but working internationally. Along with a number of short films, he has written and directed fourteen feature films, including Gerontophilia, which won the Grand Prix at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal in 2013, and Pierrot Lunaire, which won a Teddy Award at the Berlinale in 2014.

As a photographer he has had numerous gallery shows around the world, including a photo exhibit called “Obscenity” at La Fresh Gallery in Madrid which caused a national ruckus in Spain in 2012. His feature film L.A. Zombie premiered in competition at the Locarno film festival in 2010 and was subsequently banned in Australia in 2010. His latest movie Saint-Narcisse was named one of the top 10 films of 2021 by John Waters in Artforum. His latest porn feature, The Affairs of Lidia, from Erika Lust Films, was released in 2022. LaBruce has contributed to a variety of international magazines, newspapers and websites as both a writer and photographer, including index magazine, for which he also acted as a contributing editor, Vice, The Guardian UK, Honcho, Purple Fashion, Numero, Dazed and Confused, Tank, BlackBook, Bon, Fantastic Man, Man About Town, Bomb, and many others. His photography books Death Book and Photo Ephemera (in two volumes) are available from Baron Books.

LaBruce has had a number of notable film retrospectives, including one at the Tiff/Bell Lighthouse under the auspices of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, one at MoMA in New York in 2015, and one at the la Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal in 2022.

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About a/political

a/political explores radical knowledge through the principle of Cultural Terror. Working with artists and agitators, the collective platforms voices that interrogate the critical issues and dominant narratives of our time. a/political functions through interventions, commissions and a collection of contemporary art. Projects include ORDER with Democracia; Black Flag with Santiago Sierra; The Game and INSURRECTION with Andres Serrano and Alamut with Laibach. Projects at The Bacon Factory include Pornopolitics and Other Precedents by Pyotr Pavlensky and States of Violence in collaboration with Wikileaks. Recently initiated, the a/political label uses the same methodology to collaborate on music projects that might be unsuitable for the mainstream industry. a/political is based in London, working closely with The Foundry and FOUNDRY UNIFORM in Maubourguet, Midi-Pyrénées. www.a-political.org / @apoliticalorg on social media.

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About Doesn’t Exist

Doesn’t Exist is a London-based magazine established in 2020. It is the only publication in the market bringing cinematic elements into a fashion landscape. Each issue is dedicated entirely to the world of either a filmmaker or a fashion designer, presenting their body of work in the shape of exciting fashion stories, eye-catching images, illustrations and exclusive written pieces by new talents, in a very cinematic blend. Our previous issues were tributes to filmmakers John Waters, Peter Greenaway and Michelangelo Antonioni, and to fashion designer Rei Kawakubo.

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About DMovies

DMovies is the UK’s portal for thought-provoking cinema. Founded in 2016, the platform-agnostic film website has since become firmly established as one of the most successful indie publications in the country. DMovies also has a nascent production and an exhibition arm. The organisation has produced two films, and it regularly showcases subversive, provocative and downright filthy movies with prestigious partners across London. It has a strategic partnership with various a-list festivals in Europe, including Locarno, San Sebastian, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and others.

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Bruce is pictured at the top of this article, in an image by George Nebieridze; the other images are stills from Theorem, Saint Narcisse and Hustler White (three of the films being shown in April).

By DMovies' team - 06-03-2023

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