1920′s Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore come to life in this hybrid documentary. Lesbians and step-sisters, the gender-bending artists lived and worked together all their lives.
1920′s Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore come to life in this hybrid documentary. Lesbians and step-sisters, the gender-bending artists lived and worked together all their lives. Heroic resisters to the Nazis occupying Jersey Isle during WWII, they were captured and sentenced to death.
Award-winning filmmaker Barbara hammer infuses this film with vigor using photographs, archival footage, dramatic interludes of a “found Cahun script”, and unique interviews of Jersey Isle residents who knew the “sisters”.
Claude Cahun, born as Lucy Schwob in 1894, was known by many labels. Among them, she was a photographer, a writer, Jewish, queer, an active surrealist, a performer, and a radical activist working to play with and expand upon our way of thinking about gender and sexuality.
The artist took on the name Claude Cahun in 1919. Formerly known as Claude Courlis and Daniel Douglas (and the aforementioned Lucy Schwob), Cahun settled upon her name due to its sexual ambiguity. The same can be said of Cahun’s step-sister and partner Marcel Moore, who preferred the names ambiguity to her birth name, Suzanne Malherbe.
While Cahun’s work is generally deemed to be self-portraiture, much of the work should be attributed to Moore, as capturing these self portraits would require assistance (In the vein of Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin having assistance). In fact, Moore switched places with Cahun both in front of and behind the camera. It’s interesting to note that Moore has remained somewhat in the dark in a way that Cahun has not. Although both Cahun and Moore were active in creating written works, sculptures, photographs, collages, and so on, Cahun’s work has been recorded and recognized while Moore is remembered as Cahun’s partner (although Moore did follow the illustration path more closely than that of fine arts, which may account for some of our lack of knowledge about her).