Fashion in Film Festival comes to MOMI

“The Color of Pomegranates,” a sumptuous Armenian film about the 18th-century troubadour Sayat-Nova, was suppressed by Soviet authorities when it was first released in 1969.
Courtesy of Critereon Pictures
By Merle Exit

The London-based Fashion in Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary season at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Exploring the connections between fashion and cinema throughout history, the two-week event will run through April 22 at MOMI — located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria — under the theme of “Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future and Dream.” Period films — also known as costume dramas — utilize clothing as a vehicle for representing the time period in which they’re set.

Tom Gunning and Marketa Uhlirova are curating the festival. Uhlirova, a senior research fellow in fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins in London, is the co-founder and director.

“I had been thinking a lot about how fashion functions — and exists — in time, what kind of narratives and concepts of time it is connected to: history, memory, the present, transformation, future, a sense of time passing,” Uhlirova said. “The obvious fact that film is a time-based medium seemed to me to offer much interesting nuance in relation to fashion. I wanted to have a conversation, though, and so I approached cinema scholar Tom Gunning, who has written some fantastic articles exploring, or at least touching on the subject of cinema and time.”

Uhlirova said she and Gunning communicated frequently via FaceTime to prepare for the festival.

“Whenever we could engineer to spend some time together and did a lot of talking over a period of about a year,” she said. “We began to structure our thinking into four themes — past, present, future and dream — and the films that we chose for the program helped us articulate some of the issues with more precision.”

Uhlirova said that the ideas for the event emerged through the process of revisiting films.

“Most of the films we had known of, but some came on our radar during this journey,” she said. “That’s what I love about curating. It sharpens your focus on a given subject, and you see things you never saw before. “

Probably the most well-known film being presented at the festival is “Barbarella,” directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda.

Based on Jean-Claude Forest’s racy comic serial, the film details the adventures of a cosmic queen in the year 40,000. The “space age” costumes were designed by Jacques Fonteray, with inspiration from Paco Rabanne. “Barbarella,” which was first released in 1968, is scheduled for a screening April 20 at 7 p.m.

Uhlirova said the film she was most excited for during the festival is Sergei Parajanov masterpiece, “The Color of Pomegranates,” which will be shown April 15 at 5:30 p.m. She also cited “Machines,” directed by Dr. Rahul Jain.

“‘Machines’ is a poignant exploration of textile production and labour abuse in India and we have brought together a panel that will dissect these issues,” she said. The screening will take place April 15 at 5 p.m.

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