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Eye Etc (1982) 16mm, color, silent, 4-1/2 min.
First completed film for Shirley Clarke’s class at UCLA. Filmed on vacation in Hawaii, the shots explore the light, colors and sensuous movement of the Hawaiian culture.
Real To Reel Mama (1982) 16mm, color, sound, 19-1/2 min.
"...portrays the views of a first generation Italian-American woman though her life experiences as immigrant, factory worker, and as the 'emotional heart of the family.'" -- Fabrice Ziolkowski
Puerto Penasco (1985) 16mm, black and white, sound, 1 min.
Five Films (NYC/Nightfall/Framed/PPI/Turner) (1984/87) 16mm, color and b&w, sound, 10-1/2 min.
Featured in exhibition titled “Make, Believe: The Maslow Collection and the Moving Image” from January 26- March 21, 2018 at Marywood University. Curated by Herb Shellenberger
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives as part of RE-VISIONS: AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL FILM 1975-90 with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
"Her cinema is marked by a lush sensuality, a concern for light, play and artfully woven soundtrack." -- Barbara Hammer, Yesterday and Tomorrow, California Women Artists
Jack’s Place (1990) VHS to digital, color, sound, 8 min
An experimental documentary of Jack Smith’s last apartment following his death in 1989.
Mary Magdalene (1991) 16mm, color, sound, 30 min.
This is one of the very few and one of the most important films on child abuse that has been made in the history of cinema. -- Stan Brakhage, May 5, 2000
Edited by M.M. Serra and shot by Peggy Ahwesh, Abigail Child, and Tom Chomont.
"This is Freud's Dora told by Dora: a fresh revelation, a successful voyeurism. We are allowed to sit on three therapeutic sessions to hear the confessions as M.M. reenacts her past: becomes demure, becomes hurt, disassociates. Her "Mum" is indicted: peasant, barely literate, wanting her daughter to be happy, "to be married" as she says in her last letter. The irony is immense: defining the abuse as secret shame, never confronting "Mr. Goertler," Mum wishes her daughter to attain social liberation in the shape for a happy (mythic?) marriage." -- Abigail Child
Stasis Series I & II I. Still Life; II. Papa's Garden (1991) 16mm, color, sound, 6 min.
Using Pixelvision video transferred to 16mm film, these works map the visual space of emotional investigation.
L'Amour Fou (1992) 16mm, color, sound, 17 min.
"... A curious meditation on the pleasures and terrors of S/M, in which interviews with enthusiasts collide with choice porn clips, Fleisher cartoons, Hans Bellmer poupees... The results are compelling, this film lingers, never once slipping into hype or deadly cool." -- Manohla Dargis, Village Voice, 1992
Lot of Fun for the Evil One, A (1994) 16mm, color, sound, 20 min.
Featuring Maria Beatty. Sound design by John Zorn.
"A worthwhile and well-executed foray into the notoriously dangerous territory where art meets porn; the result is exciting and entrancing, making no grand statements with its sometimes sweeping gestures but still providing an incredibly satisfying voyage into the psychosexual netherworld. Even the film's soundtrack is high-quality, entertaining listening and could stand on its own as purely audio material. An intense aural tapestry courtesy of John Zorn." -- Eric Danville
Soi Meme (1995) 16mm, color, sound, 6 min. Sound composition by Zeena Parkins.
Erotic dance performance by Goddess Rosemary.
Just For You Girls (1998) 16mm, color, sound, 2 min.
A period-style advertisement recontextualized from a feminist perspective.
Darling International (1999) 16mm, b&w, sound, 22 min
co-maker: Jenn Reeves.
An exploration of sexual fantasies of a NY metal worker. "An evocative work whose sexual sadomasochistic scenario, grainy visual texture and layered soundtrack render it highly tactile, fairly begging to be touched." -- Shannon Kelly, Sundance Film Festival 2000, Festival Guide
Double Your Pleasure (2002) 16mm, b&w, sound, 4 min. Sound by Jennifer Reeves
Part of the "Ad It Up" series of shorts that are parodies of commercials.
Divine Possibilities (2003) DVD, color, sound, 10 min.
Located in the Ludlow area, "Divine Possibilities" is a fantasy ad that infiltrates three of the leading visionary designers and theri boutiques: Mary Adams, Arjan Khiani's Bodyworship and Apollo Braun's A/B, Muse superstar Caroline McKenty transforms and morphs into vaires sexual personae from feminine goddess to Dada Amazon warrior to frenzied shopper taking the viewer to new heights of divine possibilities. Sponsored by HOWL 2003
Art Parade (2007) DVD, color, sound, 5 min
"In Art Parade the Karen Black girls show beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The female form, big hair, suggestive movements attract and fascinate us and the question of gender can be an illusion or for some still very tantalizing. I liked the use of strong color. It reminded me in nature insects use color to attract. In this film the color intesifies the female girls and makes them more alluring." - Diane Leon
Tongue and Chic (2007) DVD, color, sound, 3 min
"Tongue and Chic" is a stylized portrait of a launch party for the magazine Swoon. M.M. Serra, the filmmaker, says "indulging in fashion is creating a dramatic presence ... you are living that life and celebrating that moment and that is extremely precious."
Chop Off (2009) DVD, sound, color, 6 min
"Chop Off exposes the dark, fearful recesses of the human psyche by filming the body modification of performance artist R.K. Literally risking "life and limb," R.K.'S body is his medium and amputation is his art. The very act of filming him often stimulates a cascading range of emotions, from disgust to fear to dread." - Tribeca Film Festival 2009.
Screened at Sundance Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art series Documentary Fortnight, Tribeca Film Festival.
"Please please show this film! It's unique, it's real, it's not like any other film. What one sees in it, can not be seen anywhere else. It will shock some, but the fact is that there are shocking things in this world and we should know it and see it, nothing human should be hidden from knowledge. You made a very REAL film about REAL people. One of the most difficult things to do in cinema. I congratulate you." - Jonas Mekas
Breathe Deep (2011) DigiBeta, sound, color, 6 min
MM Serra's BREATHE DEEP is an experimental documentary of artist Katherine Bauer and focuses on her recipe for the crystallization/mummification of road kill and skeletal remains. The film is 3rd in a series by Serra that focuses on underground artists whose work centers on the cathartic transformation of abject bodily performance or material. Katherine's mummification process resurrects and breathes new life into the dead. The crystallized corpses are not simply beautiful or or simply putrid, but blur the distinction, lying in a layered chimeric space.
Honorable Mention at the Black Maria Film Festival in 2012.
Bitch Beauty (2011) Super 8, 16mm, video, color, sound, 7 min
Bitch-Beauty is an experimental documentary profiling the life of Anne Hanavan, whose experiences as part of the underground scene in the East Village of the 1980s paralleled those of now-deceased Zoe Tamerlis Lund. Lund was the actor and screenwriter of Bad Lieutenant, who died of a heart failure due to extended cocaine use in 1999. Using Hanavan's films, performances, readings, and music as well as footage from Lund's work, Bitch-Beauty is an intense 7-minute time capsule of addiction, the perils of street prostitution, and subsequent renewal or revival through cathartic self-expression.
Premiered at New York Film Festival.
Enduring Ornament (2015) co-directed with Josh Lewis, 16m, color, sound, 14 min
Sourced from five 16mm filmstrips found outside of a closing adult bookstore on New York's former 42nd Street sex district. Making use of a salvaged contact printer and chemical alterations applied directly to the subsequent prints, these storied images transform into a primordial celebration of bodily spectacle. Threaded throughout the film is the exuberant compound word poetry of Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven, giving voice to an immediate and transgressive consciousness.
MARY MAGDALENE (2017) Super 8, 16mm, video, color, sound
MARY MAGDALENE is a construct of personal, mythological and political projections of the fluid identity of the individual. This digital representation fragments and layers the profile that is representative of multiple gender identities. These fragments and layers use the reflections of the elements through which gender is culturally established; the flowing hair, close ups of the flesh, the legs, the voluptuous torso and lips.
In the religious community, the name "Mary Magdalene" is the woman as flesh, the wanton woman. This film emphasizes the camera as a weapon for the filmmaker to create her own visual projection.
The sound was recorded during the filmmaker's interaction with "The Bean Garden," an installation by the Fluxus sound artist, Alison Kowles. It is digitally manipulated to present the haunting of memories of both the location, a gutted morgue and the possibilities of a more transformative future.
Premiered in the exhibition titled Digital Profiling at the New York Media Center.. Digital Profiling occured in conjunction with an exhibition at C24 Gallery titled Facial Profiling. Screened as part of Femme Fantastique 2018 at Ludlow House and Wicked Queer Film Festival at Brattle Theatre.
AUGUST 10, 2010 (2019)
New Tribute to Carolee Schneemann with Peggy Ahwesh. Shot on location at Carolee’s house in 2010. Made in the aftermath of her death, the filmmaker revisited old footage at Carolee’s divine house to resurrect memories of her.
© 2019 MM SERRA