Heaven

A film by Tracey Moffatt

Australia | 1997 | 28 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 99603

SYNOPSIS

This playful film from famed director and photographer Tracey Moffatt turns the tables on traditional representations of desire to examine the power of the female gaze in the objectification of men’s bodies. HEAVEN begins with surreptitiously filmed documentary footage of brawny surfers changing in and out of bathing and wet-suits. While the soundtrack switches between the ocean surf and male chanting, Moffatt moves closer to alternately flirt with and tease her subjects, who respond with a combination of preening and macho reticence. This witty piece is a potent and hilarious meditation on cinematic and everyday sex roles, voyeurism, power, and the thin line between admiration and invasiveness.

PRESS

“A playful video that glories in the female gaze and the objectification of men.”

Roberta Smith The New York Times

“Heaven is a particularly irreverent example of a common effort in feminist and avant-garde cinema: an attempt to debunk some of the more oppressive tropes of heterosexuality.”

Isaac Julien Filmmaker

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Inside Out, Ontario

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Tracey Moffatt

Australian photographer and filmmaker. After graduating from Queensland College of Art, Brisbane (1982), she moved to Sydney, later dividing her time between Sydney and New York. Moffat began her career as an experimental filmmaker and as a producer of music videos, and she continued making films after establishing herself as a photographer. Her concern with power relations is demonstrated in the series Scarred for Life (nine offset lithographs, 1994), which juxtapose photographs of children with text, mimicking the layout of Life magazine during the 1960s. Useless, 1974 (1994; priv. col., see B. Reinhardt, ed., p. 21), shows a young girl cleaning a car in a suburban setting; the text beneath reads ‘Her father's nickname for her was “useless.”’ In the late 1990s she focused on the relationship between Australian Aborigines and white colonial settlers. The highly atmospheric series Laudanum (19 photo-engravings, 1998; Frankfurt, L. A. Gal.) shows the relationship between a woman and her aboriginal servant. Based on Pauline Reage's erotic novel Story of O (1954), it presents two actors posing in a variety of locations around a large house, suggesting sexual and power relations laced with narcotic hysteria. The use of photogravure and deliberately flawed prints heightens the ambience, informed by late 19th century photography as well as by Expressionist Cinematic techniques of shadow and distortion. The typically dreamlike quality of these works creates a space in which actors can embody wider sexual and social conflicts.

In 2017 she represented Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale with her solo exhibition, "My Horizon". Her works are held in the collections of the Tate,Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and Art Gallery of New South Wales. She currently lives in Sydney and New York. (03/19)

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