Shirley Clarke: The godmother of indie cinema
In the small realm of independent filmmaking, Deren and Clarke were destined to meet. By then, Deren, eight years the elder, was already a formidable presence in experimental film. Their relationship was prickly, underscored by Deren's ambivalent encouragement, yet there was common ground in their love of dance and in a shared interest in black culture, albeit from very different aspects. Deren died at 44 in 1961, the year The Connection was released.
The father of Shirley Clarke (nee Brimberg; Bert Clarke was her former husband with whom she had her daughter, Wendy) had made his fortune in New York's clothing industry and lost it during the great Depression, a downturn that made him angry and abusive toward the family. Wealth was restored with a second fortune through oil investments, but violence and rage remained. Shirley, the eldest of the and daughters, found salvation and escape in modern dance, studying and performing with titans such as Martha Graham, Hanya Holm & Doris Humphries: at 17 she made her debut as a choreographer. It is this sense of rhythmic cutting and spatial connectivity that is apparent in the early short films made between 1954 & '59 (winning prizes at Venice and Edinburgh); In Paris Parks, Bridges -Go-Round, Bullfight, Skyscrapers (an Oscar nomination here). To read the full article at CityArts [click here](http://cityarts.info/2012/05/20/the-book-on-clarke/).
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