Marcia Hafif Super 8 Film Screening

May 21, 2020

As part of the gallery’s second release of FM Forward, we invite you to a weekend-long screening of rare and never-before-seen Super 8 films by Marcia Hafif, including a series of 1975 travel films and an intimate 1970-71 portrait of Chris Burden, streaming through Sunday, May 24th, with special introduction by Rebecca McGrew.


Marcia Hafif focused on the aesthetic of simple actions and an intimate examination of one’s surroundings. As a maker, thinker, and writer, Hafif was most well known as a painter and considered herself primarily a mark-maker. Her study of painting and the history of painting echoes her interest in, and facility with, writing and other text-based explorations. Hafif wrote daily in diaries and journals since the age of 10. Her words about writing in her notebooks echo why she made films: she wanted “to remember time, places, and people; it is a way of inventing, I write there about people, about things I do, they do, and about what I want to do and make drawings related to what I want to do.” In her writing and films, she employs poetic fragments, stream-of-consciousness, descriptive diaristic observations and notations on daily activities and travels, and lengthy observations of clouds, colors, food, people, plants, and locations. This insistent temporal and spatial specificity and close looking is apparent in the films shown here.

From abstract observations of daily life to more narrative structures, the films range from the early Chris Burden portrait, with static shots and minimal editing, to Notes on Bob and Nancy (1970-77), with direct reflections from her daily writing in the dialogue Nancy Buchanan and Robert Walker share. Hafif later published a book of the film script. Both Pomona College graduates, Hafif met Burden at the University of California at Irvine, where both were in graduate school from 1969-1971. After completing the Burden film, Hafif moved to New York to attempt a return to painting, and made her breakthrough pencil on paper drawings in early 1972. She continued to explore film-making, including the following selected shorts that have never been aired publicly.

—Rebecca McGrew, Senior Curator, Pomona College Museum of Art

Chris Burden by Marcia Hafif, c. 1970-71

One of Marcia Hafif’s earliest Super 8 films, Chris Burden is an intimate portrait of the pioneering artist, who was a close friend and classmate of Hafif’s at the University of California at Irvine.