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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Sunday, April 29, 2012
5:40 p.m. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present
Matthew Akers (U.S., 2011)

In Person/Matthew Akers and producer Jeff Dupre


Marina Abramovic has been called “the grandmother of performance art,” although she’s as youthful as ever in Matthew Akers’s fascinating, visually crisp documentary portrait, tracking Abramovic’s celebrated 2010 Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The Serbian-born artist made work in the 1970s concerning the limits and conceptions of the body that have long since become part of the modern art canon, yet she still continues to athletically press at the boundaries of performance art. Granted a yearlong all-access pass, Akers captures Abramovic’s many selves as she stages this major exhibition. The MOMA show, titled The Artist Is Present, was a marathon spectacle in which Abamovic faced viewers singly, silently—gathering ever more fervent groupies along the way. Akers’s camera also captures her posing glamorously for fashion magazines; in guru mode, training young artists to enact her early work; sick in bed using chromatic therapies; domestic while cooking pasta; and emotionally raw while reconnecting with her former art and life partner, Ulay. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present confidently meets built-in challenges, giving the oft-reviled, ephemeral medium of performance a sympathetic, mainstream platform and humanizing a woman who defies age as easily as stereotypes. The documentary befits its subject: It’s a sleek, unerring look in the eye of an extraordinary artist.

—Glen Helfand

• Photographed by Akers. (105 mins)

Marina Abramovic regrets that she will no longer be able to attend this screening.



Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets



Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets