Riverview Theater, vintage 1948 sign, designed by Liebenberg and Kaplan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved
A good friend called me last Sunday completely revved up about a film she had seen at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. The last showings were scheduled for Sunday at noon and 5:30p.m. and she said we had to go see it. Both the director and the producer were going to introduce the film and stay afterwards to answer questions.
As soon as I heard it was a documentary on the model most often photographed in Edward Weston’s work, I knew I wanted to see it. It was a rainy Sunday and at 10:30, Liz and I were still in our pajamas, drinking morning coffee; we didn’t have long to get ready. We tried to make the noon showing but got there too late. Instead of missing the first 15 minutes, we decided to head downtown to take photographs and come back for the 5:30. Were we glad we did!
Eloquent Nude – The Love And Legacy Of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson is directed by Ian McCluskey. Ian appeared down-to-earth, excited, and passionate when he talked about the film. He did an excellent job of interviewing, editing, and paring the footage down to just the essentials.
The final product skillfully reveals his vision for the film – to capture the essence of the relationship between photographer, Edward Weston, and poet, writer, and model, Charis Wilson. The film reaches far past their marriage, to reveal the minds and hearts of two people bound by artistic love and creative drive.
McCluskey explained that he had always wondered who the woman was in the Weston photographs. When he started to dig into it, he discovered Charis and in a moment of bravery, contacted her, filmed over 8 hours of interviews, and, well, the rest is history.
He talked about the tender moment when he worked up the courage to give her a call and then stumbled over his words. “It’s an honor to finally talk to you,” he said. In the cut-to-the-point, direct humor that carried over into the film, Charis laughingly said, “Oh, he says it’s an honor.”
Producer, Julie Gliniany, originally from the Twin Cities, eloquently spoke about the project and how she met Ian through an ad on Craigslist. A few years and a lot of work later, Eloquent Nude is a reality. Julie was beaming when she talked about nervously screening the film at the home of Charis Wilson, now 93 and legally blind. They set up a big screen TV and Charis sat close to the action.
About half way into the film, Charis asked her daughter to stop the viewing, turned to Julie and Ian and said, “If my tear ducts hadn’t clogged up years ago, I’d be crying my eyes out. These are the home movies I never had.”
I can’t recommend this film enough. I was riveted to Charis Wilson’s expressive face, honest commentary, and candid sense of humor. And after hearing Ian and Julie speak about their work, I walked out of the Riverview completely inspired to tackle my own creative projects.
Julie and Ian took a chance; they went out there and did something that was close to their hearts. They didn’t have a lot of money but they had an idea that they believed in; they placed ads, got the crew together, contacted Charis and made their vision a reality.
Before we left the historic Riverview Theater (designed by Liebenberg and Kaplan in 1948, with many of the original furnishings), Liz signed up for their email list. Today she got an email from the producer, Julie, that the film had been held over at the Riverview another week. I had already planned to blog about the experience, but Julie’s email gave me that extra zip I needed to get this post out tonight.
Here’s what she said:
Thank you so much for such a warm welcoming in Minnesota over the weekend. Ian and I are safely back in Portland, enjoying the August sunshine and already missing the friendly crowds, Scandinavian accents, and potato salad of the Midwest (I know, my accent isn’t too far from gone).
We wanted to write and let you all know that due to the huge success of ELOQUENT NUDE, the Riverview Theater has decided to hold the film over for an additional week!
As this obviously wasn’t included in the beautiful press we received we’re asking for as much help as you can offer to spread the word about the additional screening dates. Feel free to post this info on blogs, forums, work email lists, etc.. Although Ian and I will no longer be able to attend the screenings, we hope you will help us fill those seats and continue sharing this story.
3800 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis
Wed. Aug. 22nd at 5:30
Friday Aug. 24 – Thursday Aug. 30 at 5:30pm
Weekend Matinees at Noon on Aug. 25-26
Tickets are $2
Keep in touch!
Julie Gliniany & Ian McCluskey
Don’t miss this film! When it comes to your town, rain or shine, rush out in your pajamas, coffee clutched in hand, and see it. Grab some buttered popcorn and a box of Raisinets. And prepare to be moved.
-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
-Weston Photography – Kim & Gina Weston’s site – Historic and current photographs of the Weston family and history, including Charis Wilson and Wildcat Hill
-Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Interview with Charis Wilson, Conducted by Mimi Luebbermann, In Aptos, California, March 24, 1982 – Great candid interview with Charis, well worth the time.
-Weston Book Leads To Documentary Film, Oregon State Website, updated 2006 - Wendy Madar co-wrote the Charis Wilson memoir, Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston. We checked a local bookstore last weekend and found the book to be out of print. But you may be able to find it used.