Michel Auder + Michael Stickrod present Cleopatra (1970)
Thursday, Dec. 12 | 6–8 p.m.
A rare screening of Michel Auder’s Cleopatra (1970, 126 minutes) in a room filled with goldenrod culled from Michael Stickrod’s home in McKean Township, Ohio.
Out of public view for many years, New York-based French artist Michel Auder’s Cleopatra (1970, 155 min., color, 16mm transferred to video) based its characters’ improvisation on Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1963 film of the same name starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton—the most expensive film ever at the time of its making. Auder’s cast includes many from and around Andy Warhol’s Factory, including Auder’s former wife, Viva, as the queen, Louis Waldon, Taylor Mead, Nico, Ondine, Ultra Violet, Andrea Feldman, Gerard Malanga, and Christopher Walken.
In his Cleopatra, Auder swapped objects, locations, and, maybe, even states of minds: the snowmobile, then a new invention, for horses; Warhol’s Factory for an arsenal; upstate New York for Egypt; and police in Rome as Roman soldiers. Auder shot his epic on location in the 16th-century surrealist park in Bomarzo, Italy, and the final scene of naked gladiators at the Cinecittà film studio, outside Rome (where Mankiewicz also filmed). Due to a dispute with disgruntled producers who destroyed the film, Auder never edited Cleopatra, which survives as an uncut, degraded copy of the original.