QUEEN OF DIAMONDS
Filmmaker Nina Menkes is a spell caster, a conjurer who weaves a hypnotic trance amid the white bones and blue sky of the expansive and alienating desert landscape. Its dark nights punctuated by neon and the ever-constant chorus of slot machines, the Las Vegas illusion of liveliness is made all the more beguiling in this intimate, penetrating depiction of blackjack dealer, compellingly portrayed by the filmmaker’s sister, muse and cinematic alter-ego, Tinka Menkes. Independent cinema at its most radically independent, QUEEN OF DIAMONDS loudly rejects entrenched norms, establishing a remarkable aesthetic characterized by extended takes, careful compositions and a pointed use of silence. Menkes’ is a cinematic universe that revels in the strange and the arcane, providing space for contemplation as an immersive cinema of experience. QUEEN OF DIAMONDS first screened at AFI FEST in 1991 and is now presented as a world premiere digital restoration. Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. – Malin Kan
Considered one of America’s foremost independent filmmakers, Nina Menkes has been called “brilliant, one of the most provocative artists in film today” by the Los Angeles Times. Her films synthesize dream-worlds with harsh, outer realities and have played in major festivals, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and MOMA in NYC. QUEEN OF DIAMONDS first screened at AFI FEST in 1991.