Image from the motion picture Because We Must Image from the motion picture Because We Must

The Films of Charles Atlas: Because We Must + SSS | Q&A

Documentary, Experimental, Dance | 1989 | 58MIN


Charles Atlas


Michael Clark
Marina Abramovic

Because We Must (1989, 52MIN)

In Because We Must, Atlas continued his collaboration with British choreographer Michael Clark, the enfant terrible of the dance world in the 1980s. Based on an original stage production at Sadlers’ Wells Theatre in London, this is an ironic, irreverent work that is as entertaining as it is provocative. The extravagant stylization and burlesque humor that pervade the choreography, costuming and staging are mirrored by Atlas’ focus on the theatricality of the performance and the artifice of the behind-the-scenes narrative. Clark thumbs his nose at the conventions of “serious” dance, composing outrageously unexpected and inventive scenarios that include a nude dancer wielding a chain-saw and a psychedelic interlude, all exquisitely if ironically performed.

SSS (1989, 6MIN)

Marina Abramovic collaborated with videomaker Charles Atlas on this striking work of autobiographical performance. Abramovic delivers a monologue that traces a concise personal chronology. This brief narrative history, which references her past in the former Yugoslavia, her performance work, and her collaboration with and separation from Ulay, is intercut with images of Abramovic engaged in symbolic gestures and ritual acts—scrubbing her feet, staring like Medusa as snakes writhe on her head. Closing her litany with the phrase “time past, time present,” Abramovic invokes the personal and the mythological in a poignant affirmation of self.

Q&A with director Charles Atlas following screening.

The Roxy Cinema was inspired by the recent Charles Atlas show, A Prune Twin at Luhring Augustine in New York, to organize a screening of some of his films. Luhring Augustine will co-host the screenings at Roxy Cinema with artist Charles Atlas.

Portrait of filmmaker Charles Atlas Portrait of filmmaker Charles Atlas

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Because We Must Q&A with Charles Atlas

Filmmaker Charles Atlas joins us at the Roxy Cinema to discuss his films SSS and Because We Must.

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