Artists' Television Access

TENDER MUSCLES: five films by Charles Fairbanks (in person)

Thursday, November 15, 2012, 8:00 pm, $6

Fresh, innovative, and thoughtful films about…wrestling? As his website states, “Charles Fairbanks is a wrestler and filmmaker. His recent work focuses on pro wrestling in Mexico, where the artist fights as the One-Eyed Cat with a camera built into his mask.” What else do we need to say? With only a few small films under his belt Fairbanks has managed to make a big impact at festivals around the world. Tonight we welcome the filmmaker for an evening of entertaining and heartfelt short films that are extremely easy to enjoy and very hard to forget.

 THE MEN (2010, 3 minutes, video)

A document of the fighter’s perspective in submission wrestling: an immersive experience between intimacy and violence.

 WRESTLING WITH MY FATHER (2010, 4.5 minutes, video)

My father was a wrestler before me. You never stop being a wrestler.

 PIONEERS (2009, 33 minutes, video)

A portrait of industrial agriculture and new-age spirituality, focusing on the artist’s parents, PIONEERS is also an unwitting self-portrait of a director returning to the place of his upbringing (Lexington, Nebraska), where he feels both the comforts of home and the alienating weight of the past.

 IRMA (2010, 12 minutes, video)

An intimate musical portrait of Irma Gonzalez, the former world champion of women’s professional wrestling. Featuring original music written and performed by Ms. Gonzalez, Irma’s story surges with love and deceit, masculine strength, feminine charms, and an extraordinary sense of humor.

FLEXING MUSCLES (2010, 21 minutes, video)

A wrestling movie about postmodern consumption: physical work and embodied culture for the digital age. Flexing Muscles is also an immersive, participatory, experimental ethnography on Mexico’s spectacular masked wrestling – Lucha Libre – for which the filmmaker resumed his career fighting as the One-Eyed Cat (el Gato Tuerto), this time with a camera built into his mask.

Total running time: ca. 75 minutes.

About the cinéaste: Charles Fairbanks is a wrestler and filmmaker. His recent work focuses on Lucha Libre in Mexico, where the artist fights as the One-Eyed Cat (El Gato Tuerto) with a camera built into his mask. Chuck grew up in rural Nebraska and wrestled at Stanford, where he studied Art and the History of Science. While in graduate school at the University of Michigan, he worked as the wrestling coach / choreographer for the University Productions staging of Claire Luckham’s Trafford Tanzi – a feminist play written for the pub, directed by Malcolm Tulip. In 2010 Fairbanks was chosen by Werner Herzog for the first Rogue Film School, and in 2011 Anthology Film Archives hosted the retrospective screening Tender Muscles: Five Films by Charles Fairbanks. He has worked as translator (Festival Filmer à Tout Prix), as programmer and producer (Courtisane Festival), and as visiting professor of VideoArte (at Tuxtla’s UNICACH). Presently a Guggenheim Fellow and Assistant Professor of Media Arts at Antioch College, his new work is emerging through collaboration with an indigenous Zoque community in rural Chiapas.


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