Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

Valie Export


March 24–26, 2017

The Films of
Valie Export

Valie Export is a pioneer of conceptual media art, film and performance. Through live performance and moving images, her work explores feminist theories and challenges social and political topics.

In the 1960s, Export was exposed to a group of Viennese artists and poets who influenced her artwork and theories. She became interested in Constructivism, which led her into new media.

Calling it the "Expanded Cinema," Export began to experiment with different media incorporating photography with live performance in which mirrors were projected onto big screens. Export was fascinated by the spontaneity of performance art, feeling the element of spontaneity was lacking in conventional cinema. Export's early performances not only challenged the norm of the movie watching experience but they also revealed an ironic take on feminist art theories.

Invisible Adversaries
(Unsichtbare Gegner)

Buy tickets
Film still: Invisible Adversaries


"A winning combination of sexual frankness and visual wit"
  —Village Voice

Anna, a photographer living in Vienna, is losing her grip on her sanity just as her lover loses interest in her. Her profound sense of loss and alienation manifests itself in her belief that space aliens are colonizing the minds of her fellow citizens, especially men, which raises their aggression level. The outside world seems and looks disjointed as her inner world falls apart in this experimental narrative in which the lines between outward reality and inner fantasy are blurred.

Original and provocative, Invisible Adversaries is a psychologically revealing and sexually frank take on gender and culture from an almostforgotten era when women filmmakers like Valie Export readily expressed themselves in avant-garde film.

Directed by Valie Export, 1977, Austria, 109 min. In German with English subtitles.


  • Friday, March 24 at 11 pm


Film still: Menschenfrauen


"Despairing... never less than harshly realistic about the place and role of women in the unthinking man's world"
  —TimeOut London

Provocative feminist filmmaker Valie Export offers a killer of a relationship movie—and it's no romantic comedy!

Journalist Franz S. dallies with four women who think only they are the apple of Franz's eye. Each girlfriend represents a different female archetype: Petra is a sweet kindergarten nurse; Gertrud is an intelligent teacher; Elisabeth the barmaid is always ready for a party; and poor Anna is the long-suffering wife. Eventually, the women want more from life than Franz's attention and use different means to undermine his game.

Directed by Valie Export, 1980, Austria/West Germany, 132 min. In German with English subtitles.


  • Saturday, March 25 at 11 pm

The Practice of Love
(Die Praxis der Liebe)

Film still: The Practice of Love


Golden Bear
Berlin Int
Film Fest

Avant-garde filmmaker Valie Export first feature-length film was a stunning debut, combining the thriller genre with provocative experimental images.

The story follows Judith, an investigative journalist who begins to unravel a murder mystery that implicates one of her current lovers. When she checks out a peep-show business on the seedy side of Hamburg as part of the investigation, she runs into a former boyfriend who used to be a psychiatrist but is now an arms dealer. Judith is lured back into his fold, cheating on her current lovers, one of whom is also a shrink. Despite her profession, or perhaps because of it, Judith tends to blend fantasy and reality-explaining her attraction to psychiatrists. But, two shrinks and a murder prove more than Judith can handle.

Directed by Valie Export, 1985, Austria/West Germany, 86 min. In German with English subtitles.


  • Sunday, March 26 at 9 pm

Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation