Hyperreal Film Club Brings a Gender-Bending Classic to the Grounds of the Elisabet Ney Museum

Local film social club teams up to screen Orlando

The historic home of German American sculptor Elisabet Ney is hosting a unique film event this Saturday, Oct. 8, in collaboration with one of Austin’s premier social film groups, Hyperreal Film Club: an evening of food, music, and a screening of 1992’s gender-bending period epic Orlando. Costumes encouraged!

“[The museum] not only looks like a castle in the middle of Austin, Texas,” says Hyperreal co-founder Jenni Kaye, “but it also houses the work of Elisabet Ney, an incredible sculptor who we felt embodies the ethos of Orlando.” Pitched initially by friend and fellow Hyperreal collaborator Emily Basma, the screening was planned with the aesthetic of Orlando’s world in mind. Nestled in the greenery of Hyde Park, the Elisabet Ney Museum is home to its namesake’s collective work of sculptures. The film’s protagonist notably spends the forefront of their immortal years indulging in the art and culture of the period, and the museum exudes a similar setting for an immersive Orlando experience.

The film, based loosely on the 1928 Virginia Woolf novel of the same title, chronicles the story of Orlando (Tilda Swinton), a young nobleman in Elizabethan England who is bequeathed a massive property by Elizabeth I. The queen, on her deathbed, assures them that the property and a sizable inheritance shall be theirs, so long as they adhere to her last request: “Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not grow old.” Regarded by many critics as a masterpiece, the film is a landmark in both the careers of Swinton, and writer/director Sally Potter, who also co-wrote the film’s score with composer David Motion. For Swinton, it is the first in a long career of gender-defying roles that solidified the actor's range and reputation. Orlando, too, has claimed its place in queer cinema history with the main character Orlando, who undergoes an unforeseen change of sex as their immortal life progresses. At first a man, Orlando wakes one morning as a woman, and must adapt as their money, status, and property are all at stake. Orlando has no choice but to carry on and face these new circumstances, adapting both physically and socially.

Hyperreal celebrates great cinema of the past and present with immersive, atmospheric screenings, which Saturday’s show promises with music by local cellist and electronic artist Aux Aux and themed treats and libations from vegan outfit Temptress Meals. “As a programmer,” Kaye says, “I find the most value in showcasing the underseen classics and giving current fans the opportunity to celebrate a movie they love, or for the first-time watcher the thrill of connecting with a new favorite.”

Tickets are available on a sliding scale from the Hyperreal Film Club website.

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Hyperreal Film Club, Orlando, Tilda Swinton

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