Barbara Hammer: History Lessons

Barbara Hammer: History Lessons

Barbara Hammer (1939–2019) was one of cinema’s irrefutable visionaries and pioneers, forging a bold, creative, engaged, and empathic new language for filmmaking from a radical feminist and lesbian sensibility. Over her fifty-year film career, Hammer worked in an incredibly diverse array of techniques and styles to help create a new queer and feminist cinema that was sensual, responsive, inquisitive, and fearless, and which never shied away from complex and challenging themes. 

Liberally employing a mixture of innocent, picturesque, risqué, and explicit images in numerous cinematic techniques, History Lessons charts a new history of lesbian identity from the 19th century to the present. Hammer reimagines and recreates history and visual culture in ways both playful and profound as she maps a lesbian consciousness across our collective visual experience. 

Preceding History Lessons will be our series’ namesake film, Available Space, as well as one of Hammer’s final works, a collaborative project produced with filmmaker Matt Wolf that revisits a location from her own History Lessons and examines the loss of a key locus of lesbian life in New York City now erased by the sweeping force of gentrification.

Programmed and notes by UCLA Film & Television Archive Film Programmer K.J. Relth-Miller and Academy Film Archive Senior Film Preservationist Mark Toscano

Special thanks to Florrie Burke and Matt Wolf.

This program contains some explicit adult content.

Available Space
Director: Barbara Hammer.
1978. 10 min. USA. Color. 16mm. 
Premiere of new restoration by the Academy Film Archive. 

History Lessons Redo: The Meat Market
Directors: Barbara Hammer, Matt Wolf 
2019. 9.5 min. USA. Color. English. Digital. 
Courtesy of Matt Wolf and Florrie Burke. 

History Lessons 
Director: Barbara Hammer. 
2000. 65 min. USA. Color. English. 16mm. 
Premiere of new restoration by the Academy Film Archive.

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