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Nina Danino
The Persistence of Spirit: The Films of Nina Danino

Nina Danino is one of the foremost experimental filmmakers of her generation. Her films explore the relationship of image to sound, and of theory to practice. She draws upon her own personal history as well as literary and artistic works, which are filtered through a poetic interpretation of feminist theory that foregrounds women's personal experience and expression. These inspirations are restructured through image-making, editing and voice performances to create original works of striking intensity and emotional force.

Born in Gibraltar, Nina Danino began as a painter of large abstract field paintings while she was studying art in the late 70s at St Martin's School of Art in London. She became disillusioned with the male-dominated art world and was disappointed by the lack of a critical stance to art production. She became attracted to writing as the first process of filmmaking. In the mid 1980s many filmmakers were turning to the portable, cheap video technology to make conceptual pieces. Danino chose not to do this as she felt that video was too cold and immediate. Instead, it was important for her to explore the material properties of film, narrative, time and space, the voice as a way of communicating of intimate experiences for the viewer. Later, she did use digital post-production techniques in Now I Am Yours and The Silence is Baroque. Temenos also incorporates video imagery, but it is used as a stark contrast to the searing intensity of the black and white film.

Although her films are highly organised, she never followed the previous generation to become a structural filmmaker. Structural film was an almost entirely male domain concerned with a purist, but limiting, visual practice. Instead Nina Danino wanted to push the formalist boundaries and engage in political and theoretical feminist discourses to produce a new aesthetic able to take on the urgency of female subjectivity and desire. She uses editing and durational time in a systematic way to communicate atmosphere and emotion. It was crucial to her to use the voice as a means of expression. All her films have her own voice-over and with very controlled delivery she speaks her own words, as well as those of other artists and writers, which she incorporates into her meditations.

Between 1980 and 1990, Nina Danino worked for Undercut, the journal of experimental film and video, first as a member of the collective editorial committee, and then as co-editor. Undercut was a vital publication as it allowed artists, filmmakers and critics to engage in debate about the work that was being made. It maintained a critical discourse that was unrivalled within artists' moving image. In 2003 she co-edited an anthology of writing from Undercut.

All of Nina Danino's films have been exhibited in international film festivals, national cinematheques and independent cinemas worldwide. Her feature film, Temenos, played at the London Film Festival in 1999 and is released on DVD. In 2002, she began working on a new feature film.

Still from Stabat Mater by Nina Danino, 1990
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