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The Complete Works of Joyce Wieland: 1963‑1986
Joyce Wieland
DVD Set
This 5-disc set brings together for the first time the film works of Joyce Wieland (1931-1998), largely regarded as one of Canada's most influential and important artists. Spanning a period from 1963 to 1985, the collection includes sixteen shorts and two feature films made from new high-definition digital transfers.A multi-disciplinary artist who produced work in a wide variety of media, Wieland's intelligent and irreverent explorations of female sexuality, domestic life, ecology and Canadian nationalism put her at the forefront of feminist practice. Wieland made her mark in the film underground in New York in the 1960s, where she was associated with structural filmmakers such as Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton. While her films employ materialist formal strategies, the irony and socio-political content of her work sets her apart from her structuralist compatriots, as does her exploration of narrative.

The collection is accompanied by critical texts by scholars Kristy Holmes, Anne Low, Allyson Mitchell, Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, Johanne Sloan and Leila Sujir. It will be of vital interest to film- and art-lovers alike, as well as those involved in the fields of film studies and production, visual arts, art history and women's studies.

Study Guides are available for download.
Volume One: Shorts 1963-66
Canada / 16:35 / 1963 / sound / colour & b/w
One of Joyce Wieland's earliest works, shot in 8mm and finally blown-up to 16mm, “Larry’s Recent Behaviour” has been described by Simon Field as an "irreverent and wilfully juvenile examination" of a nasty habit that Larry has recently acquired
Canada / 4:00 / 1964 / sound / colour
Wieland's kinetic romp casts David Shackman as an overexposed sleeper dogged by a patriotic march of tube steaks that finally refigures him as our most familiar icon of freedom. This pixillated short about hot dogs is the latest of Wieland's early film works to be restored to circulation.
Canada / 3:45 / 1965 / silent / colour
In a way a portrait of Dave Shackman with the American flag. The ending is a stop-motion animation of a set table with food moving and swirling and finally gathering together in a ball. Looking back at the film, the animation sequence seems to foreshadow Dave Shackman’s early death. He died shortly after the film was made.
Canada / 16:15 / 1965 / sound / colour & b/w
"There is no one named Barbara to be found; a pair of mysterious blind-person's hands (looking suspiciously like Wieland's) make only one cameo appearance to 'read' us the title; yet these seemingly incongruous elements provide the perfect introduction to the ironic humour of the film itself. The main source of the film seems to be an old grade-school morality-movie on the appreciation of eyesight, starring golden-haired Mary, who finds herself temporarily blind, and a leaden-voiced narrator, who finds himself our unwitting straight-man. The filmmakers re-edited this curiosity and intercut it with other stock footage of disasters, agricultural techniques, and monster movies, to create a very different object lesson on the nature of vision." - B. Ruby Rich
Canada / 12:15 / 1964 / sound / b/w
Filmed in Joyce Wieland and Michael Snow's loft in New York, the film covers a day of friends visiting, writing and drawing from noon of one day to dawn the next day. The soundtrack was done by Paul Blay. The 16mm film is a blow-up of grainy 8mm stock.
Canada / 13:30 / 1965 / sound / colour
"I decided to make a film at my kitchen table, there is nothing like knowing my table. The high art of the housewife. You take prisms, glass, lights and myself to it. “The Housewife is High.” “Water Sark” is a film sculpture, being made while you wait." - Joyce Wieland
Volume Two: Shorts 1967-69
Canada / 3:50 / 1967 / sound / colour
"1933. The year? the number? the title? Was it (the film) made then? It's a memory! (i.e. a Film.) No, it's many memories. It's so sad and funny: the departed, departing people, cars, streets! It hurries, it's gone, it's back! the film (of 1933?) was made in 1967. You find out, if you don't already know, how naming tints pure vision." - Michael Snow
Canada / 2:45 / 1967 / sound / colour
“‘Sailboat’ has the simplicity of a child's drawing. A toy-like image of a sailboat sails without interruption on the water, to the sound of roaring waves, which seems to underline the image to the point of exaggeration, somewhat in the way a child might draw a picture of water and write word sounds on it to make it as emphatic as possible. The little image is interrupted at one point by a huge shoulder appearing briefly in the left-hand corner." - Robert Cowan, Take One "This little Sailboat film will sail right through your gate and into your heart." - Joyce Wieland "A day at the Beach, at the Sea, at the Sky and at the Sailboats." - Michael Snow
Canada / 13:30 / 1967 / sound / colour
"A cat eats its methodical way through a polymorphous fish. The projector devours the ribbon of film at the same rate, methodically. The lay of Grimnir mentions a wild boar whose magical flesh was nightly devoured by the heroes of Valhalla, and miraculously regenerated next morning in the kitchen. The fish in Wieland's film, and the miraculous flesh of the film itself, are reconstructed on the rewinds to be devoured again. Here is a dionysian metaphor, old as the West, of immense strength. Once we see that the fish is the protagonist of the action, this metaphor reverberates to incandescence in the mind." - Hollis Frampton
Canada / 6:00 / 1967-68 / silent / colour
“‘Handtinting’ is the apt title of a film made from outtakes from a Job Corps documentary which features hand-tinted sections. The film is full of small movements and actions, gestures begun and never completed. Repeated images, sometimes in colour, sometimes not. A beautifully realized type of chamber-music film whose sum-total feeling is ritualistic.” - Robert Cowan, Take One
Canada / 16:00 / 1968 / sound / colour
"I can tell you that Wieland's film holds. It may be about the best (or richest) political movie around. It's all about rebels (enacted by real rats) and police (enacted by real cats). After long suffering under the cats, the rats break out of prison and escape to Canada. There they take up organic gardening, with no DDT in the grass. It is a parable, a satire, an adventure movie, or you can call it pop art or any art you want - I find it one of the most original films made recently." - Jonas Mekas "The film is witty, articulate, and a far cry from all the other cute animal humanism the cinema has sickened us with in the past. Nevertheless it is a vital extension of the aspect of her films that runs counter to the structural principle: ironic symbolism." - P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture
Canada / 10:22 / 1969 / sound / b/w
"You see nothing but a white, crystal white plate, and water dripping into the plate, from the ceiling, from high, and you hear the sound of the water dripping. The film is ten minutes long. I can imagine only St. Francis looking at a water plate and water dripping so lovingly, so respectfully, so serenely. The usual reaction is: ‘Oh, what is it anyhow? Just a plate of water dripping.’ But that is a snob remark. That remark has no love for the world, for anything. Snow and Wieland’s film uplifts the object, and leaves the viewer with a finer attitude toward the world around him; it can open his eyes to the phenomenal world. And how can you love people if you don’t love water, stone , glass?” - Jonas Mekas, New York Times, 1969
Volume Three: Shorts 1972-85
Canada / 32:30 / 1972 / sound / colour
"He delivered three essays, without stopping, except for reel change and camera breakdown: 1) Mont Laurier; 2) Quebec history and race; 3) women's liberation. Everything which happened is recorded on film. It was a one-shot affair, I either got him on film or I missed. What we see on film is the mouth of a revolutionary, extremely close, his lips, his teeth, his spittle, his tongue which rolls so beautifully through his French, and finally the reflections in his teeth of the window behind me." - Joyce Wieland
Canada / 10:40 / 1973 / sound / colour
A film on the Dare strike of the early 1970s. Hundreds of feet and legs, milling, marching and picketing with the word “solidarity” superimposed on the screen. The soundtrack is an organizer's speech on the labour situation. Like her films Rat Life and Diet in North America, Pierre Vallieres and Reason Over Passion, Solidarity combines a political awareness, an aesthetic viewpoint and a sense of humour unique in Wieland's work.
Canada / 16:05 / 1984 / sound / b/w
“Hollis and I came back to Toronto on holiday in the summer of '67. We were staying at a friend's house. We worked our way through the city and eventually made it to the island. We followed each other around. We enjoyed ourselves. We said we were going to make a film about each other - and we did.” - Joyce Wieland A & B in Ontario was completed eighteen years after the original material was shot. After Frampton's death, the film was assembled by Wieland into a cinematic dialogue in which the collaborators (in the spirit of the sixties) shoot each other with cameras.
Canada / 10:15 / 1986 / sound / colour
The film was originally photographed in 1972. Birds from my window were filmed during the winter, through to the spring, with the early morning light. I became caught up in their frozen world and their ability to survive the bitter cold. I welcomed their chirps and their songs which offered life and hope for spring. "In 1984 I was part of a cultural exchange between Canada and Israel. During my visit my unfinished movie came to mind. A connection was established in my mind - so that the suffering of the birds became, in a sense, symbolic of the Jews and their survival through suffering. The film begins with the reading in Hebrew of the 23rd Psalm. This lays the spiritual ground to the film. I dedicate this film to Ayala." -Joyce Wieland
Volume Four: 1969
Canada / 1:23:40 / 1969 / sound / colour
"Joyce Wieland's films are among the most endearing I have ever seen, making her point and sealing the issue in a womanly way without any concern for ragged edges. La Raison Avant la Passion is a whirlwind view of Canada with an anti-dialectical premise." - Douglas Pringle, ArtsCanada "Reason Over Passion... is Joyce Wieland's major film so far. With its many eccentricities, it is a glyph of her artistic personality; a lyric vision tempered by an aggressive form and a visionary patriotism mixed with ironic self parody. It is a film to be seen many times." - P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture
Volume Five: 1976
Canada / 1:45:00 / 1976 / sound / colour
Set in 1918 Ontario. Eulalie, a Quebecoise, marries a Toronto engineer but finds life with him oppressive. She falls in love with Tom, a painter who is an acquaintance of her husband's and, with him, escapes briefly to Northern Ontario before they are hunted down by her jealous husband. "For something like two decades, Joyce Wieland - the Toronto painter, filmmaker, quiltmaker and lay ecologist - has been creating an individual sensibility and then displaying it, piece by piece, in the various art forms that have suited her purposes. In The Far Shore, her feature film, she articulates that sensibility in detail for the first time... ‘The Far Shore’ has energy, ambition, vision and a marvellously confident sense of itself." - Marshall Delaney
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725