Barbara Rubin (1945-1980) an experimental film maker of merit.
Though largely forgotten until now, she was instrumental in the formation of the creative community of bohemian downtown New York City in the early 1960's.
Director Chuck Smith being interviewed at Reykjavík Iceland's Film Festival.
Ms. Rubin sadly died from a post natal infection after a C-section with her 5th child at the age of 35. By all accounts she had been happy at the end, living in a cloistered religious community with her second husband, also an artist, in the countryside of France. Only 15 years earlier she reigned over the NY counter culture until she rejected it entirely in a complete turnabout. With her debut 1963 film, 'Christmas on Earth,' Rubin entered into the pantheon of true originals who influence culture for generations. (A few years older than Rubin, her contemporary Agnes Varda played a similar role across the pond in the French New Wave film movement.) Who knows what would have become of her if she had lived longer.
The documentary makes the case that Rubin, a self trained auteur came out of nowhere. She made quite the impression on a number of the cognoscenti of her day. Andy Warhol, it is said, looked to her for guidance when he began film making. They parted ways due to Warhol's demand she limit her role to camera person and he was to be the primary decision maker. One of her lasting achievements before their collaboration went south was her scene stealing role as a nun in a Warhol film, 'Uptight #3 Barbara Films' (1966) featuring the young upstart Lou Reed.
Rubin's next fascination turned into a serious case of unrequited love for the Beat Poet, gold star gay Allen Ginsberg. During that time they did establish a residence on a communal farm which began her migration from the city to the country in an attempt at achieving lasting sobriety and motherhood. Former lover Bob Dylan wrote about Rubin fondly in the song, 'I'll Keep it with Mine,' and with awe in "Outlaw Blues."
Not to whitewash Rubin she did a hella ton of drugs. Could this explain in part her clouded and misguided thought of winning over decidedly homosexual Ginsberg? Her genuine penchant towards spirituality, a needed container for her controlling nature, alongside a burning desire for children and family, inter-cut with emotional exhaustion in part created by too much drug taking -- all of this and more may have been tipped over by the grief experienced as a consequence of the double Kennedy assassinations, that may have contributed to her landing in the 'Shtizel' world of Orthodox Judaism.
Even before she jumped ship Rubin tended towards modest dressing and covering her hair. No small aesthetic detail, this is part of a woman's life in a community which attempts to put women in a small box, she is said to have remained feisty to the end. Leading the way in improvisational experiential immersive multi-media performance based film, ahead of her time comes this new documentary.
SEE THE TRAILER HERE
The Official theatrical "trailer" for Smith's new feature-length documentary. Opening in NYC at the IFC on May 24th and in LA at the Laemmle June 14th and in SF at the Roxy on June 12th. Don't miss it!
This remarkable vision began with an firebrand teenager from a middle class family in the unassuming borough of Queens, New York. An icon of the ’60s, Rubin was a muse and collaborator to artists such as Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and family friend Jonas Mekas, as well as helping to launch careers such as Lou Reed's, before turning away from this vibrant and exciting world claiming it was superficial and impure as she fled to an 'uncool' world of religious zealotry. Any woman who aspires to film making or the study of Kabbalah today owes a debt of gratitude to trailblazers like Rubin.
This insightful film helps its pioneering subject regain her rightful place in film history much like AliceGuy-Blaché the subject of another new doc film, 'Be Natural.' Many had forgotten her too, and yet both both were quite important. In the documentary 'Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground' we get to know Barbara, her work and the setting she helped to create.
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]