‘Marie Losier’s artistic universe is built around friends, family and idols she summons in a crazy maelstrom. Mainly known for her work behind the camera (a Bolex 16mm wound every 30 seconds), the artist, for some years now, has exhibited monotypes and installations connected with her films.
‘Her imagery is inspired by the figures of the New York underground and experimental cinema of the Kuchar brothers to Paul Sharits, as well as by her accomplice Tony Conrad, and her new French friends Yann Gonzalez, Bertrand Mandico. She formed a part of this brotherhood during her years in New York. Others, like Felix Kubin, will come, thanks to her travels and her projects when back in Europe. They all are good times or bad times companions, faithful friends and the partners of a constantly changing and reconsidered art, which evokes Méliès as well as the clips on MTV and the beat poetry, the camp universe, Fluxus or video art and low fi.
‘Eyes are seen from the street; you are theatrically invited to pass through the colorful curtain in order to discover the effervescence sweeping through the the gallery. On one of the walls, the powerful and moving black and white drawing of a headless woman with animal feet, a hybrid character: inside her, she carries cameras, she brings to life a film, which will be animated through an eagle’s legged projector.
‘The film is in color and an animation of faces and color strobe light. It is a portrait, a melting pot of faces, which unreel successively to form just one. Farther, a few seconds long loops of images are shown in decorated boxes. These videos, reruns of the artist’s films, drawn from her rushes, give a new life to the protagonists in an overflowing and baroque showcase, like magic lanterns, which remind you of the beginnings of the cinema.
‘Marie Losier mingles, like North American artists know so well how to, her personal life with her work, into a euphoric and generous self-fiction. Her works depict a big and happy house, from which the parents would be away, leaving excited, full of imagination children, who burst out laughing while playing grown-ups. They build huts and flying saucers, dress up and paint their faces, cook, eat, laugh, sing and jump everywhere. They wear flowery bathing caps, octopuses and birds by way of headgear, they throw golden flakes, and, above all, they never forget to dance.’ — Emilie Flory
Marie Losier Website
Marie Losier @ Re:Voir
Marie Losier @ IMDb
Audio: Marie Losier :” Je conçois plutôt mes films comme des tableaux vivants”
PORTFOLIO: Marie Losier, portraits de famille
Marie Losier on Vimeo
Marie Losier @ Galerie Anne Barrault
Marie Losier @ Collectif Jeune Cinéma
Marie Losier bio, resume (en Francais)
Marie Losier @ Facebook
« Cassandro est tiraillé entre mille masques »
Marie Losier @ Art Jaws
Marie Losier @ Film-makers Coop
Marie Losier @ letterboxd
Q&A: Marie Losier
Love Song: Marie Losier on The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
HELLO HAPPINESS! – Marie Losier (trailer)
Marie Losier. Confettis atomiques !
Interview de Marie Losier
Orlan meets Genesis (2009)
from The Metrograph
Austin Dale: You lived in New York for 23 years. Why did you first move to New York from France?
Marie Losier: I was obsessed with New York since I was a kid, because I used to watch all the Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder movies. My parents had a cinema and we always showed those films. I was obsessed with American cinema. And then when I got older, I studied American literature, especially Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams. I got a grant to do an exchange, to write a thesis on that subject. And I went to New York, but I never came back. And I didn’t follow the grants, and I didn’t write the thesis, and I went to art school in painting.
AD: How does one go from studying painting to making experimental films?
ML: It really began because I started working in a wonderful cineclub, Ocularis, and that lasted ten years, in Williamsburg. I acquired a Bolex that was a gift from Brian Frye, who was working with the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema. And so I went to the Millennium Film Workshop when Mike Kuchar was there, and I learned to use the Bolex from him. I made my first film without knowing anything, and it was a portrait of Mike Kuchar, Bird Bath and Beyond.
AD: Were you aware of New York experimental filmmakers like Kuchar? Or were you kind of exploring it as you went along?
ML: In art school, when I was still studying painting, I was already skipping a lot of classes to go to the cinema, and I worked to make money for Richard Foreman, making sets. So I was already sort of connected the underground. But then I really learned about that type of cinema at the Anthology Film Archive.
AD: It’s an exposure you certainly wouldn’t have had in Paris.
ML: No. When I grew up in France, I used to sneak out of literature class to go to the Cinematheque Française, but they were mostly classics: American films and also Japanese films. That was much more that legacy that I grew up with, and that is still very present there. But the experimental cinema is much more structureless and minimalist than the kind of films they show in Paris.
AD: In your films there’s definitely the kind of handheld, structureless immediacy that you find in movies by Marie Menken or Jack Smith. I’m curious about how you developed your style.
ML: It came with time over 15 years. First I was making short films in one day, more performative films, but then suddenly I started making films on friends like Mike Kuchar, like Tony Conrad, like Richard Foreman. And since they were close friends I would take my time. I would spend my time recording sounds, stories, and then filming a mix between fiction and documentary in my own way, always relating to the creative process of each of these artists. And sometimes it would take one year, sometimes it would take five years. I would always do the camera work, with no crew, no one to help. It’s just me and the camera and the sound.
And slowly, without knowing it, I made the feature film with The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, which was finished after seven years. And that is where I started crafting more and more the collage between the documentary-style: I was shooting the everyday process of creating, and then constructing more fictional, performative parts out of that. And with Cassandro there is even more narrative, in the sense that there was a mix between archival footage, Skype, video, and film. The collage was extended even to the medium itself.
AD: One thing that comes across to me in your movies it that you come to these people, your subjects, kind of from the perspective of a fan, and I relate to it very much, you know, as someone who interviews people I admire all the time.
ML: That’s interesting. I don’t think at all like a fan, otherwise I think I would not be able to make these kind of films. Sometimes I don’t know anything about the person I meet, like Genesis P-Orridge. It was more a friendship that developed, and I discovered their artwork and who they are as I was making the film. But it’s because there’s a pure friendship, and not being a fan, that the distance is possible, because it’s a very humble, horizontal way of making the film. There’s a trust on both sides. On my side, but on their sides, without questioning the process of making.
And I think that’s why it becomes what it becomes, with a lot of emotion, a lot of feelings. And it’s not a written script with a fact-basis. It’s more like a love-letter to the person I share a piece of my life with through our friendship.
AD: I love that the rhythm of your body ends up informing the way the films. The subjects of your films are also using their bodies in their work.
ML: It has always been, for me, one of the main canvasses on which everything can be shown, seen, painted, transformed. It’s the texture, it’s the color, it has curves, it has beauty marks. Also the beauty is in what a body can do: incredible sports, transformation, dance. And it can be its own art: the lucha libre for Cassandro, the pandrogeny for Genesis.
AD: I’m noting some similarities between your story and Chantal Akerman’s, in that you both came to New York and found your way into your work through looking at films at Anthology.
ML: What a compliment. I knew Chantal, and she was a very warm person in my life. I didn’t work with her, but when she lived in New York we spent a lot of time together, and I also gave her a retrospective at the French Institute when I used to curate there. I programmed for 13 years at the French Institute, and that’s how I learned a lot.
14 of Marie Losier’s 16 films
Electrocute your Stars (2004)
‘With George Kuchar.“You always have to be careful, you always have to have the shower backward in order to see the water, which means you better watch out, or you might electrify or electrocute your stars. You know what I mean, by having the light falling into the tub” -GK This is a dream-portrait of George Kuchar, traveling through snow confetti, strobe flashes and artificial wind as he describes his weather diaries. And then George joins Janet Leigh in the shower. Wearing a red raincoat and a shower cap, reading comic books and blowing bubbles, he laughingly describes his bathing rituals and the making of his film, Hold Me While I’m Naked.’ — Collectif Jeune Cinema
Bird, Bath and Beyond (2004)
‘With Mike Kuchar. “I don’t put myself into my movies because that would be too much – my pictures reflect my own feelings. So hopefully it’s entertaining. Otherwise I can’t bear looking at them, ha ha!” — MK. In this dream-portrait of Mike Kuchar, he floats through his memories as the sea, space and sky drift past. Wrapped in odd costumes, he frolics with the imaginary creatures surrounding him, and recalls the creatures of his own imagination.’ — Collectif Jeune Cinema
The Ontological Cowboy (2005)
‘w/ Richard Foreman, Juliana Francis, Tom Ryder Smith and JaySmith.“The theater is about sex.” At least according to Richard Foreman, the father of the Ontological Hysterical Theater. The Ontological Cowboy documents Foreman’s invocation of the “manifest destiny” of the avant-garde theater, King Cowboy Rufus strolling down off San Juan Hill with a sigh, waving his handkerchief. Foreman plays himself, and the cast pantomimes his preoccupations. If “the cast and crew suffer alike,” it’s all for a good cause: the violent rebirth of the American theater, with Foreman as its midwife.’ — Collectif Jeune Cinema
Manuelle Labor (2007)
‘Collaboration film Marie Losier and Guy Maddin. Two sisters, five brothers, a doctor and two nurses and the miraculous birth of a pair of hands..but whose hands… “Marie, that shot of the hands coming out o’ your womb is a dilly!!! What an honour to be born of you! your son, Guy” (Guy Maddin).’ — CJC
Tony Conrad, Dreaminimalist (2008)
‘The latest in Marie Losier’s ongoing series of film portraits of avant-garde directors (George and Mike Kuchar, Guy Maddin, Richard Foreman), DreaMinimalist offers an insightful and hilarious encounter with Conrad as he sings, dances and remembers his youth and his association with Jack Smith.’ — Re:Voir
Slap the Gondola (2010)
‘Musical with music, musicians, muses and fishes… On a giant ferry, two mermaids (Tony Conrad and Genesis P-Orridge) play violin to attract the fish from the sea, when suddenly a giant fish with 30 dancers in its stomach lands on board. April March, the great singer appears while singing out of the fish belly while 30 costumed dancers jump around in this surreal setting … when a fish fight ensue.. ‘What a brilliant explosion of brilliance! Brilliant colors! Brilliant music! Brilliant costumes! Brilliant casting! I shall cherish this masterpiece forever!’ Guy Maddin.’ — IMDb
Snow Beard (2010)
‘Marie Losier’s poignant short film offers a moving tribute to New York icon Mike Kuchar, filmed on his last day before leaving Manhattan to relocate to San Francisco.’ — fandor
Eat My MakeUp! (2010)
‘Five winsome damsels picnic on the roof of a warehouse in charming Long Island City, a forest of skyscrapers gleaming across the river. But when a swarm of flies interrupts their feast of chocolate-covered pretzels and cream-pies, the young ladies run amok.’ — fandor
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (2012)
‘Genesis P-Orridge has been one of the most innovative and influential figures in music and fine art for the last 30 years. A link between the pre- and post-punk eras, he is the founder of the legendary groups COUM Transmissions (1969-1976), Throbbing Gristle (1975-1981), and Psychic TV (1981 to present), all of which merged performance art with rock music. Celebrated by critics and art historians as a progenitor of “industrial music”, his innovations have transformed the character of rock and electronic music while his prodigious efforts to expand the boundaries of live performance have radically altered the way people experience sound in a concert setting.
‘This is a love story, and a portrait of two lives that illustrate the transformative powers of both love and art. Marie Losier brings to us the most intimate details of Genesis’s extraordinary, uncanny world. In warm and intimate images captured handheld, Losier crafts a labyrinthine mise-en-scene of interviews, home movies, and performance footage. The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye documents a truly new brand of Romantic consciousness, one in defiance of the daily dehumanization of the body by the pervasive presence of advertising and pornography, conveying beauty, dignity and devotion from a perspective never before seen on film.’ — Unifrance
Bim Bam Boum Las Luchas Morenas (2013)
‘Three women/three sisters/three professional luchadoras, part of the Dynasty Moreno: Rossy, Esther and Cynthia are competitive wrestlers on the ring. But they also bring lucha libre into life, wrestling with knives, pig heads, flowers and feathers!’ — Teddy Award
Interview Marie Losier ‘Bim, Bam, Boom Las Luchas Morenas’
Alan Vega, just a million dreams (2014)
‘This intimate portrait depicts the moving and rebellious soul of groundbreaking visual artist and pioneer of minimalist electronic rock, Alan Vega, vocalist and composer for 1970s and 80s punk/post punk duo Suicide. Alan plays with the camera while loving, fighting and living with his family —Liz Lamere, his wife and collaborator, and their prodigal son Dante, young replica of Alan. Traces of joy, eccentricity, illumination, the rock-n-roll Alan Vega is still very alive, funny and rebellious!’ — CJC
L’oiseau de la nuit (2015)
‘Mysterious portrait of Fernando, aka Deborah Krystal, the glittering and poetic performer of the Lisbon club Finalmente, where he has been performing every night over thirty years in golden dresses. Under the layers of his colorful fabrics, the many skins of Fernando are revealed, letting Lisbon’s legends come to life. Alternately woman mermaid, female birds, woman lion, we are taken into the desires and dreams of metamorphosis and myths.’ — Portugal Film
Interview with Marie Losier about “L’Oiseau de la Nuit”
Cassandro, the Exotico! (2018)
‘There’s a virtually metaphysical dimension to Cassandro’s struggle with his sport’s public and private rigors. He practices shamanic and traditional rituals, which, he says, help him to get through times when “physical pain and emotional pain is too much.” His solitary confrontation with pain (as in an extended sequence of his efforts to compete on a reconstructed and still-healing knee) is doubled by his solitude in sequences of spiritual devotion in the desert and of the ecstasy of religious chants and rites, as well as his solitary confrontation with a lifetime of trauma and torment that his performances both mask and overcome—and, to the discerning eye, embody.
‘Losier is a filmmaker who, like a mathematician, shows her work: the relationship on which the film is built is built into the film. Its photographic element, its sense of style, emerges from her experience and her perception, rather than being imposed from outside. What’s more, there’s something sublimely literal about the notion of Losier’s camera-eye; she made the movie with a handheld camera—of 16-mm. film, not video. The movie has handcrafted quality, an intimate texture as well as a built-in air of nostalgia. It evokes the present becoming past, and yet monumental, before Losier’s very eyes; she appears to be rescuing fragments of Cassandro’s career before it passes into legend.’ — Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Rencontre avec Marie Losier // “Cassandro, the Exotico”
Felix in Wonderland (2019)
‘Fall into the world of Felix Kubin’s experimentation and creation of music sound and his mastering of his instrument of predilection, the KORG MS20. A portrait of a great artist who never stops living with music in his head. With Felix creative power and endless inspiration, the film brings you into the universe of pure Music, from electronic music, to radio play, pop, music concrete, opera, and microphone experiments…. Felix is the little Nemo of a new sleepless world of music and pure joy!’ — IMDb
p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Not a great husband either. ** Dominik, Good morning (my time), Dominik!! Ah, if you know Gurochan, you know the main source. Yeah, that place is … wow. Ha ha, thank you, but if you forget and add the ‘birth’ part, I won’t mind. I’m resigned to that day’s title. Yes, it’s the only art I’ve seen in person in forever, weirdly and sadly, although ‘art’ is pushing it in that case. Me too, i.e. I’m sort thinking if I’m still healthy now, I’ve probably evaded it since I don’t see or touch anybody who sees or touches anybody. The supermarkets here now require people who enter to wash their hands with this sanitary gel by the door before you go in. I think contrabass is the right English word, or I know what you mean anyway. That’s nice that he can keep playing and studying. Ooh, that’s very interesting: your writing by visualising technique. That’s extremely interesting. What a great sounding way to enter writing unrestricted by the standard imposed forms. Exciting! And that it sounds like it’s working well for you. That’s great, uplifting news right there. My favorite Guided by Voices changes a lot. If you’re asking what’s a good one to start with, I would say ‘Bee Thousand’, which is often considered their best, and it’s also a very characteristic album where you’ll know if you’re interested in what Pollard/they do and want to go further. My personal favorite is often ‘Under the Bushes, Under the Stars’, or I seem to keep going back to that one as my favorite eventually. I’m fine. Yesterday, hm, I … took a walk. Bought some supermarket supplies. I watched a documentary about the history of Grindcore called ‘Slave to the Grind’. It’s watchable on YouTube. It was your basic mixture of historical footage and talking heads, but it was interesting to get that genre’s history straight, and a lot of the old footage was fantastic. That got me in the mood for music documentaries so I watched another, ‘Echo in the Canyon’, about the late 60s/early 70s Laurel Canyon music scene, which wasn’t very good, and then ‘Love Story’, the documentary about the band Love, one of my all-time favorite bands, and that was quite good although I don’t know if it would be so interesting to non-preexisting fans. Emails. A tiny bit of meandering writing. I think that’s it. Best of luck with your today, and how/what was it? White walled-in love intersected with the sound of flapping pigeon wings, me. ** _Black_Acrylic, Oh, no, you’re losing your family. What do they like to watch? Very nice list there, and, weirdly, I actually know every single one of those tracks — you often stump me — and also think they’re greaties. ** Bill, Yes, these times seem to make Ohle pop. No, nothing but pharmacies and markets here. There’s been talk of the electronics and home supply stores doing what yours are doing, but nothing yet. So enjoy your relative luckiness. I would kill to be able to stroll over to FNAC and pick up a Switch at their door. Do share! ** jamie, Ha ha. Mr. Jensen in the house! Hey, Jamie! You hanging way in there over there? I’m way tired of hunkering down over here but hanging in there, maybe not ‘way’ in there. Or maybe so. Who can tell anymore? Love, me. ** Misanthrope, I think aiming big to start with is absolutely the way to go. The only problem is that it’s very tough to get into the major presses or even get your mss. read there without an agent’s intervention, whereas with the smaller, indie presses agent-less writers are fairly usual. That’s the rub. But, yeah, shoot high, for sure. Big presses are always in search of new writers, actually. It’s often easier for them to hype an unknown as the next big thing than to be in a situation where they need to try to sell a book by saying it’s the next one by a writer you already know. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I don’t think it’s about aesthetisizing. It’s about paying attention to it while keeping it in context. Well, same here basically. 90% of the people you see when you go out are the homeless. There are shelters for them here, but a lot of them want to stay on the street, and, with the city being deserted, the police leave them be much more than they usually do. Very cool about the props from the George Crumb protege! Very nice! I’ve gotten queries from five different anthologies in progress about the very thematic you suggest. I expect the first one to get rush released any day now. ** Okay. Marie Losier is best known for her documentary ‘The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye’, but her films are generally really wonderful and terrific, when they’re about known figures — Alan Vega, George Kuchar, Tony Conrad, etc. — and when they focus on more obscure figures or no one in particular. Long story short, you’ll have a good time with her work today if you allow yourselves, and, obviously, I hope you will. See you tomorrow.