By Madeline Leuby
Eccentric filmmaker Marie Losier creates wildly entertaining avant-garde films with fascinating subjects, oftentimes subjects from her own art world. As she documents directors of avant-garde cinema such as Tony Conrad, or pioneers of unique art like the Father of Ontological Theater, she unveils her implications of the artist whom she is. Just as a biographer unintentially inserts him- or herself into the person being biographed, so does Marie Losier in her work.
Her reinacting of Elliot Gould’s part in The Touch Retouched demonstrates her ability to recognize art, and as she shines on Gould’s role a new light, she literally places herself inside an already acclaimed artist’s work.
Another example of Losier’s creative stamp is her portrayal of avant-garde director, Tony Conrad. She captured him in daily moments such as trying on costumes, playing the violin, and singing. While these moments may seem mundane, Losier depicts them as little moments of art history centering around Conrad’s theatrical presence. She shows us what to recognize as art and how it should be valued. Losier’s own artistic implications are especially present in Tony Conrad: Dreaminimalist as Conrad is a peer of hers, which helps make her documentary about Conrad an unintentional portrayal and reminisence of Losier herself.
How we see mermaid violinists, avant-garde directors, members of the theater, or women emerging from a spaghetti pot (all interesting subjects on their own) is how Marie Losier wants us to see them. Granting these artists the gift of being the focal point of her films makes us acknowledge them as artists and appreciate their work, which is Losier’s doing.
Her variety of techniques and cinematic style reveal her to be as creative and talented as the subjects she documents. Whether or not she knows it, she, as a result, is just as interesting as her subjects. Her portrayal of each artist is presented in a way to be appreciated, for she is there too.
Marie Losier and Dance
By Katisha Hernandez
Dance is a form of expression and social interaction and is most often set to music. Marie Losier is a music lover and filmmaker who uses her films to express herself and interact with her friends in a new way. So, it makes sense that many of Losier’s films involve dancing. In The Ontological Cowboy the actors dance using jerky, almost violent movements to express their feelings, which mirror Richard Foreman’s feelings about the rebirth of American Theater. Foreman stars in and inspired Losier’s Ontological Cowboy. Another friend who inspired Losier to create a film is Tony Conrad. He stars in DreaMinimalist and he is dancing in the first shot we see of him. He does happy, silly dances throughout the film and even makes his violin do a dance. This dancing exhibits the fun-loving side of Conrad’s personality. Conrad appears in another of Losier’s films, Slap the Gondola. In this film, a troupe of dress-clad people emerges from a huge fish and holds a celebration. They all dance together on the deck of a ship. Mike Kuchar, another close friend of Losier, is featured in her three-minute film, Snowbeard. Although he is not dancing, Losier described the making of the film as “a kind of dance, though a melancholy one.” By making films with her friends, Losier gets to bond with them. By using dance in her films as a form of expression, she gets to incorporate her love of music in a visual way.