International Studio Programme : May 2009

Babette Mangolte


Babette Mangolte, self portrait while shooting The Camera: Je, La Camera: I, 1977

The French-born, New York-based experimental filmmaker Babette Mangolte was one of the first women accepted into the cinematography programme at L'École Nationale de la Photographie et de la Cinématographie in Paris, founded by Louis Lumiére, in 1964. She discovered cinema with the New Wave and moved to New York City in 1970, where she worked as the cinematographer for Chantal Ackerman and Yvonne Rainer among others. In her work as director from the 1970s, Mangolte focused on performance documentation, working with artists such as Richard Foreman, Robert Whitman, Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs. Her early film work was a self-examination as to what it means to be a spectator, but also an experiment in narrative filmmaking. Among the films directed by Mangolte are What Maisie Knew (1976), The Camera: Je or La Camera: I (1977), Four Pieces by Morris (1993) and Seven Easy Pieces (2007). Her films are in the collections of the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Deutsche Kinematek, Berlin and the Cinéathèque Royale de Belgique in Brussels. The first retrospective dedicated to her work took place in 2000 in three German cities - Berlin, Hamburg and Munich - and was organised by Madeleine Bernstorff and Kleus Volkmer from the Munich Film Archives. Her second retrospective was in New York in September 2004 at the Anthology Film Archives.