Press "Enter" to skip to content

Film series Critter

Film series
Wednesdays 2pm, 7.15pm
Sundays 2pm
10 April – 2 June 2024
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Naala Nura, our south building
Lower level 3, Domain Theatre

Imagine this film series as a bestiary. Tigers join donkeys, a talking crow and occult black cats in a global survey of creaturely cinema. From Hollywood screwball to French classics and Thai avant-pop, Critter brings together over two dozen tales of interspecies encounter.

Why look at animals? In a famous 1977 essay, critic John Berger argued that with the rise of industrial capitalism, wildlife began to disappear from public life. Animals were co-opted into the family as domestic pets, or into the realm of spectacle, as zoo displays, stuffed toys, and images on screen. The story of cinema is tied up with the fate of animals. Think of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies of galloping horses, and the many beasts which animate proto-cinematic devices of the 19th century. Indeed, the very stuff of the earliest moving images – celluloid – is made of animal bones and hides.

Drawing together Japanese cult favourites (House) and ‘60s comedies alongside Anangu animation and Malayalam folktales, this series unites a diverse range of representations of more-than-human lives on screen. In some films, animals are scene-stealing stars (The awful truth); in others, they’re beloved childhood companions (Kes, Celia) or metaphors for collective anxieties, as in Bulgarian director Binka Zhelyazkova’s rarely screened satire The tied-up balloon.

As the series title suggests, there’s tender affection in these films. But critters can also make the skin crawl. Monstrous animals shapeshift throughout B-grade horror (Cat people) and eco-parables of nature’s revenge (The birds, Phase IV).

To be sure, there are no films here that show cruel suffering, nor does this series spotlight environmental documentaries which seek to explicitly redress anthropocentrism. Rather, Critter gathers stories by filmmakers attentive to how animals live alongside humans in complex, unruly webs of entanglement.

*オーストラリア/ザ・ドメインにあるニュー・サウス・ウェールズ州立美術館にKRAUT FILMより浅野優子の『蟻の生活』(1994)を提供。同館の企画上映プログラム「Critter」にて取り上げられました。

| BACK |