Breaking the Frame

Marielle Nitoslawska

2012 | 01:40:00 | Canada | English | Stereo | 16:9 | Film

Collection: On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Artist Portraits, Documentary, Documentation, Feature Length, Performance

Marielle Nitoslawska’s Breaking the Frame is a feature–length profile of the radical New York artist Carolee Schneemann. A pioneer of performance art and avant-garde cinema, Schneemann has been breaking the frames of the art world for five decades by challenging the taboos leveled against the female body. Breaking the Frame is a kinetic, hyper-cinematic intervention, a critical medita-tion on the intimate correlations animating art and life.


Praise for Breaking the Frame:


A work about a formidable artist that is itself an important work of art.

– Mark McElhatten, Views from the Avant-Garde, New York Film Festival.

Breaking the Frame plunges you into Ms. Schneemann’s past and present with few of the usual documentary signposts.

– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.

Director Marielle Nitoslawska's faith in the power of imagery over pedantic expo-sition rewards the audience with a heady catalogue of Schneemann's luscious paintings, visceral hand-illustrated journals and excerpts from her corporeal films. Nitoslawska achieves her own form of engaging delirium by marrying her kaleidoscopic footage with overlapping conversations and a musical score by the avant-garde composer James Tenney.

– R.C. Baker, The Village Voice.

 Nitoslawska deserves special credit for the way her film is about more than the artist’s oeuvre and impact without resorting to mawkish biography.


Elliptical in its account, Breaking the Frame rhymes with the sensual quality of Schneeman's own body of work, framed as revelatory.

– Artspace: New Art Documentaries to Watch in 2014

Moving trains, changing seasons and Schneemann’s cat on the windowsill, watching, always watching, advance like stepping-stones along a symbolic laby-rinth, navigating Schneemann’s art and life.

– Joyce Beckenstein, The Brooklyn Rail

 The effect is haunting and hallucinatory, particularly when viewed in the dark of a cinema.

– Iain Millar, The Art Newspaper.

Nitoslawska crafted a total artwork evoking an epochal tonality. Breaking the Frame functions as an amalgamation of poem, dream journal, photo album, labor-atory log, cultural memento, archeological dig, and liberation manual for an era of artistic experimentation and confrontation. In short, it is as much a cultural time capsule as a biographical testament.

– G. Roger Denson, Huffington Post.

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