Lesbian Looks opens our 23rd annual season with Barbara Hammer’s 2015 lyrical documentary Welcome To This House (2015). The film explores the homes and loves of poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)–her life in the shadows, and the anxiety of art making without full self-disclosure. Hammer filmed in Bishop’s ‘best loved homes’ in the US, Canada, and Brazil believing that buildings and landscapes bear
cultural memories. Interviews with poets, friends, and scholars provide "missing documents" of numerous female lovers. Bishop’s intimate poetry is beautifully performed by Kathleen Chalfant, with the creative music composition by Joan La Barbara.
“Hammer weaves together anecdotal fragments and imagery to build a portrait of a poet as a lesbian at a time when nobody talked of such things openly. Elizabeth Bishop had told Robert Lowell, whom she met in the ’40s, that she was "the loneliest person in the world"; in Welcome to this House, Hammer crafts a vivid picture of how loneliness worked as a driving force in Bishop’s life and work. The film explores the ambiguity of relationships when things were about the "love that dare not speak its name," necessarily fraught, hidden, and ambivalent.”
“a layered portrait of the person behind the poet”
—Monica Nolan, Frameline »Read full review
“a sensorial experience of Bishop’s work and chosen habitat, which at its best becomes a polymorphous evocation of the sonorous affects permeating Bishop’s physical and psychological milieu”
—Clayton Dillard, slantmagazine.com »Read full review