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August 28 2014

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1 posts tagged "Nancy Spero"

Chiara Clemente Has Now Lived Six Lives

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Chiara Clemente will happily volunteer that she’s spent much of her life in the shadow of her father, painter Francesco Clemente. But now the daughter is making her own light: This week, Chiara debuts her first feature film, Our City Dreams, at Manhattan’s Film Forum. A documentary exploring the experiences of five renowned female artists—Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic, and Nancy Spero—Our City Dreams is both a window on five eclectic lives and a group portrait of one kind of life, that of the New York artist. Closely observed, beautifully shot and scored, and often moving, Our City Dreams easily earns the acclaim it received on the festival circuit last year. But the feedback she most appreciates comes from her own artist pals. “People have told me that the film makes them feel good about what they do and inspires them to get back to it,” Clemente says. “I couldn’t ask for any better response.” Our City Dreams is at Film Forum through February 17; dates in other cities are soon to be announced. (Click here to see the trailer.) And later this year, the doc will air on the Sundance Channel. In the meantime, Clemente talks to Style.com about overcoming her allergy to New York, why it doesn’t have to be your birthday for the party to be a surprise, and how being a documentary filmmaker is like having split-personality disorder.

I’m going to ask why you chose to focus solely on female artists, but first, I’m wondering what made you decide to center Our City Dreams on artists in New York?

There’s sort of a long answer to that. I grew up in New York, and I think, when you grow up here, you either feel like you can never leave the city, or the second you can, you get out. I was one of those. When I was 18, I took off for L.A., and I really thought I’d never come back. It was like, see ya, bye. And after L.A. I went to Rome and was working there. Maybe three years into living in Rome I began to realize I had more New Yorker in me than I’d ever admitted to myself. So I came back. All told, I was gone about eight years. That may not seem like such a long time, but I left a child and I returned as an adult. I need to rediscover New York. And the easiest way to that, it seemed to me, was through a camera lens. What I mean is—I knew I wanted to create a portrait of New York before I knew anything else about this film. Because I’d been working with artists and filming artists in Italy, telling the city’s story through an artist’s eyes felt like the right thing.

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