Campus & Community

Hammer’s film premieres at Brattle

3 min read

Two films produced and directed by independent filmmaker Barbara Hammer, a 2001-02 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, will be shown at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square Nov. 16 – 18. The film series, which will mark the Boston premiere of “History Lessons,” is co-sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute and the Brattle.

Barbara Hammer

“History Lessons,” described by Variety as “an ‘Atomic Café’ of archaic screen lesbiana,” is a revisionist, ironic look at historic images of lesbians on film before Stonewall. (A landmark event in the history of the homosexual rights movement took place at the Stonewall Bar in New York City in 1969, when patrons of the bar rioted in response to a police raid.) The film debuts on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.

Judith Vichniac, the director of the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program, will introduce Hammer. A reception with the filmmaker follows.

“History Lessons” will also be shown on Nov. 17 and 18 at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. The film is the final installation of Hammer’s trilogy on lesbian and gay histories, which also includes “Nitrate Kisses” (1993) and “Tender Fictions” (1995). Radcliffe Institute Dean Drew Gilpin Faust will introduce Hammer, prior to the 7:15 p.m. screening on Sunday, Nov. 18.

“Nitrate Kisses” will be screened on Friday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 and 10 p.m. “Nitrate Kisses” addresses the issue of storytelling and serves as a history for the gay community. It was Hammer’s first feature film.

An internationally recognized film artist, Hammer has produced and directed 80 films and videos in 30 years. By using film and video as a medium, Hammer strives to “make the invisible, visible. I am compelled to reveal and celebrate marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told.” She wants audiences to “leave the theater with fresh perceptions” and to feel emboldened “to take active and political stances for social change in a global environment.”

In June, Hammer’s most recent video documentary, “My Babushka: Searching Ukrainian Identifies,” debuted at The New Festival in New York and Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco. The film chronicles Hammer’s search for her own ethnic roots, identity, and family history in Ukraine in the former Soviet Union.

Hammer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and two master’s degrees from San Francisco State University.

Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Japan Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Camargo Foundation, and by numerous grants. During her fellowship year at Radcliffe, Hammer will complete “Resisting Paradise,” a 16-mm feature-length documentary that questions whether art can persist during a time of political crisis.