(2018) THE PROPOSAL
A film by Jill Magid
Trailer and screening information at Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Known as “the artist among architects”, Luis Barragán is among the world’s most celebrated architects of the 20th century. Upon his death in 1988, much of his work was locked away in a Swiss bunker, hidden from the world’s view. In an attempt to resurrect Barragán's life and art, boundary redefining artist Jill Magid creates a daring proposition that becomes a fascinating artwork in itself - a high-wire act of negotiation that explores how far an artist will go to democratize access to art.
** New York Theater Premiere: IFC Center, opening May 24th
** Los Angeles, CA: Laemmle Monica Film Center, May 31
** Hartford, CT: Real Art Ways, June 7
** Chicago, IL: Gene Siskel Film Center, June 14
** Portland, OR: Living Room Theaters, June 21
** Millenium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland **May 11-May 18, 2019
Winner of the Festival Grand Prix and the Chopin's Nose Award
** Dokaviv International Documentary Film Festival, Israel **May 23-June 1, 2019
As a visual artist and writer, I use my work to create new perspectives to long-established structures of power in society.
During the past eighteen years, I’ve trained as a spy, a police officer, and as a war journalist. Gaining access to power systems takes research, trust, and a series of unorthodox requests, requiring constant negotiation. From the inside, I engage these systems in personal dialogue. From there, I’m able to raise questions and concerns on how we live in relation to them.
The Proposal is my first feature film and the last chapter of a larger project I began in 2013 called The Barragán Archives. The project explores the contested legacy of Luis Barragán, Mexico’s most famous architect, and how his legacy is affected by the fact that a private corporation, Vitra, owns his archives and controls the rights in his name and work. For more than twenty years, this corporation has made his work largely inaccessible to the public. The film questions whether a single actor should be exclusively in control of how the world can engage with Barragán’s work.
As the film’s protagonist, I am aware that I am entering a story that has not previously involved me, and that my presence could affect its future, or a retelling of the past. I believe that it is crucial to discuss how artistic legacy is constructed, shaped, and manipulated. Does allowing the public to engage with an artwork in various ways and from multiple perspectives threaten its integrity, or make it more integral to society over time?
Almost as an invitation for image-making, Barragán was known to adjust a buildings’ design so that it would photograph better. With this film, I wanted to capture the overwhelming beauty of his work while simultaneously questioning the legal challenges one faces to do so. The film is in itself a proposal: A way to elicit dialogue about access to legacy and its proprietary nature, and not simply if the proposal will be accepted.
Intertwined with these pressing social questions is a quieter rumination on mortality and the relationship of the artist’s body to his or her body of work. Mortality permeates, in the aging of the architecture and within the intimate presence of three generations of the Barragán family. I wanted to present legacy as something potentially alive, and full of possibility. Transforming ashes into a diamond is an expression of possibility.
My work has long provoked questions about access to power and power relations, in a similar realm as the work of Adrian Piper, Tanya Bruguera, Trevor Paglen and The Yes Men.
Producers: Jarred Alterman, Charlotte Cook, Laura Coxson
Executive Producer: Laura Poitras
Editor: Hannah Buck
DP: Jarred Alterman
Original Music: T. Griffin
Associate Producer: Pamela Echeverria
Consulting Editor: Nels Bangerter
** 2018 Tribeca Film Festival **
** 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival ** Honorable Mention-Emerging International Filmmaker Award
** Sheffield Doc Fest ** Honorable Mention - New Talent Award
** DokuFest Kosovo ** August 3-11, 2018
** Camden Film Festival ** September 13-16, 2018
** Vancouver Film Festival ** September 27-October 12, 2018
** Hamptons Film Festival, New York ** October 4-8, 2018
** DOKUARTS 11 Berlin ** October 4-21, 2018
** Antenna Film Festival, Australia ** October 9-14, 2018
** New Orleans Film Festival ** October 17-25, 2018
** RIDM Festival, Montreal ** November 8-18, 2018
** Palm Springs Film Festival** January 3-14, 2019
** International Film Festival Rotterdam ** January 23-February 3, 2019
** Göteborg Film Festival, Sweden ** January 25-February 4, 2019
** DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival ** January 28-February 3, 2019
** ACMI Non-Fiction Film Festival, Australia** February 28-March 10, 2019
** FICUNAM, International Film Festival UNAM, Mexico City ** February 28-March 10, 2019
** Portland International Film Festival ** March 7 - 21, 2019
** Salem Film Fest, Massachusetts ** March 29 - April 4, 2019
** Phoenix Film Festival, Arizona ** April 4 - 19, 2019
** Providence - Art and Design Film Festival, Rhode Island ** April 6, 2019
** One Take Documentary Film Festival, Rochester ** April 25 - 28, 2019
** MOOOV Film Festival, Belgium** April 23 - May 5, 2019
** Ambulante Film Festival, Mexico ** May 8-9, 2019