A Milestone favorite, Eleanor Antin is an acclaimed artist/filmmaker working for many years in installation, performance and video, She has built an impressive international reputation based in part on her historical impersonations including Eleanor Nightingale (a Crimean War nurse), the Black King (the leader of a Ship of Fools in a medieval passion play) and in this case, Eleanora Antinova.
In this great project, an archivist attempts to put together the “lost years” of Eleanor Antinova, the once celebrated black ballerina of Diaghlev’s Ballets Russes, when she returned to her native America to eke out a meager living in vaudeville and early movies. Her career in the States is documented through narrative and dance films — recently discovered — which she made back in the Depression, when times were bad, and even ballerinas stooped low. The six short films include comedies, spicy farces, even, alas, a semi-blue movie, along with vaudeville dance numbers and artistic interpretations. Antin has described From the Archives of Modern Art as a documentary fiction.
“The impish Antin is incorrigibly funny, a latter-day Fanny Brice capable of transformations a la Tracey Ullman” — Los Angeles Times