Bellarmine Museum Screens Art Documentary at Quick
Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art presents a special screening of “a woman like that,” a compelling documentary about the provocative 17th-century Italian woman artist Artemisia Gentileschi, by Ellen Weissbrod at 7 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2013, at Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Admission is free and open to the public. Reservations are required. The event is sponsored by the Bellarmine Museum of Art and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396).
“a woman like that” merges filmmaker Ellen Weissbrod’s own coming of (middle) age story with her pursuit of the truths behind the legends of 17th-century female painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s meaningful work and her fascinating biography. Presented in celebration of Women’s History Month, and in conjunction with the current Bellarmine Museum of Art and Walsh Art Gallery exhibitions exploring the career of Colleen Browning, the event will include a question and answer session with Ms. Weissbrod, after the 93-minute film.
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was one of the first female artists to achieve recognition in her own time. She was taught to paint by her father Orazio, who was himself a renowned follower of Caravaggio. Artemisia went on to have a successful career as a painter - a rarity for a woman in her day. She also enjoyed the friendship and support of Galileo and the Medici family. Her achievements, however, are often over-shadowed by the scandal surrounding her public rape trial. More remarkable than her biography is the art itself – Artemisia “changed the frame.” She told stories of women as heroes, from history, mythology, and the Bible. Her work is held in museums and private collections worldwide. Best-selling novels, popular plays, and one highly protested French film have been made about Artemisia.
“a woman like that” is the first personal documentary directed by Weissbrod, who has been working in film for close to thirty years. In 2002, Weissbrod was at a career crossroads, mired in directing reality television shows that struck her as “empty.” Fascinated by Artemisia’s story, Weissbrod decides to take a risk and make her own work – but is mysteriously denied permission to film the once-in-a-lifetime retrospective of Artemisia and her father Orazio at the St. Louis Art Museum. Undeterred, she dons a spy camera and goes “undercover,” secretly filming the exhibition. This bold act sets her on a 5-year journey, during which time she travels to Italy, where curators and collectors opened their museums and homes for her.
Alexandra Lapierre, author of the bestseller “Artemisia,” walks Weissbrod through Artemisia’s Roman neighborhood. Weissbrod examines the 400 year-old rape trial transcripts in the Rome State Archive, before it is locked away for repair. She follows Artemisia’s trail from Florence to Naples, talking about the paintings with distinguished scholars and passionate fans. Weissbrod gathers a diverse collection of Artemisia admirers, who act out the paintings, read her letters, and recount her influence in their own lives.
Weissbrod’s directing debut was the Warner Bros. feature documentary, “Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones.” She has directed many documentary portraits, including the acclaimed “Face To Face” about conjoined twins Lori and Reba Schappell. Weissbrod was nominated for an Emmy for “It Just Takes One” with Savion Glover.
Previous sold-out screenings include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University, The Davis Cinema at Wellesley College, The Portland Art Museum in Portland Oregon, The Palm Springs Art Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Rosendale Theatre in Rosendale, New York, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Cincinnati Art Museum and The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The DVD release is scheduled for later this year.
For more information, visit: www.awomanlikethatfilm.com
Pictured in a scene from the film "a woman like that" is director Ellen Weissbrod in Soho, New York City (2010).