Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber have landed world rights to seven Yvonne Rainer films, newly restored in 4K by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation. A press release announced that the collection will screen during a theatrical retrospective at the Metrograph February 17. The “Privilege” director will also make an in-person appearance on opening night.
The feature restorations from Rainer’s experimental film oeuvre span three decades. Titles from the 1970s include her 1972 debut feature “Lives of Performers,” a portrait of a man who can’t choose between two women, which features original choreography by the director, her 1974 “Film About a Woman Who…” another pic exploring the intersection of relationships and performance, and 1976’s “Kristina Talking Pictures,” the story of a woman lion tamer who moves to New York to become a dancer.
Rainer’s 1980 Los Angeles Film Critics Association winner “Journeys from Berlin/1971,” an exploration of psychoanalysis, the Frequency illusion, feminism, and pre-revolutionary Russia, and 1985 comedy “The Man who Envied Women,” following the broken marriage of a philandering professor and his artist wife, will also screen.
The retrospective will feature two festival winners from the 1990s, including “Privilege,” which focuses on the experiences of menopause and aging, and Rainer’s final feature “MURDER and murder,” the story of a budding romance between two middle-aged women. The former took home Filmmakers Trophy at the 1991 Sundance Film Fest and the latter the Teddy award at the 1997 Berlin International Film Fest.
“These stunning restorations, for which we owe much gratitude to MoMA, will assure Yvonne’s work will be treasured by future generations in their finest editions,” said Emily Russo and Nancy Gerstman, presidents of Zeitgeist Films, which gave “Privilege” and “MURDER and murder” their original theatrical releases.
Rainer added, “It’s been a pleasure to work with and be represented by Zeitgeist all these years.”
Celebrated as a pioneer of the avant garde film movement, Rainer’s half-century long career married dance and film to create genre-defining work the “draw on critical theory and erudite analysis while exploring deeply personal, political, and social themes,” per the press release. In recognition of her work, Rainier has received a MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and three Rockefeller Fellowships, among other honors.