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THE PRACTICE OF LOVE

Austria, 1984 (MIFF 1986)

Director: Valie Export

Austrian filmmaker, Valie Export, came to feature film production after carving a provocative reputation for herself in experimental video, super 8mm. and live art performances. Her involvement with the Dutch art movement known as "actionism" secured her infamy when she was jailed on a charge of pornography. She had published a book showing actionist artists using the naked human body as a means of expression.

She was a foundation member of "Film Women International" together with Susan Sontag and Agnes Varda. This film is an anti-romance, featuring a strong but vulnerable heroine, and her two lovers, both involved in anti-government machinations. The film becomes a complex psychological thriller, propelled by the dreams, fantasies and perceptions of the heroine, a journalist, assigned to report on the peep-show trade in Hamburg. Export is a confident filmmaker who operates with a deadpan, off-beat humour as she comments on societal and personal pressures whilst never conceding her aesthetic flair.

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