Gates of Horn and Ivory

Curated by Julia Yezbick
  • CrowReqium


Screening Room - Michigan Theater Wed, Mar 23, 2022 7:00 PM




Oakland University Cinema Studies Program



Morgan McCormick & Justin Bonfiglio

In Homer’s Odyssey, the image of gates of horn and gates of ivory are invoked when Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, questions whether her dream will come to pass. Truthful dreams, she says, pass through a gate made of horn, false dreams through gates of ivory. Film, however, long likened to dream states, provides a means to shape our waking realities. We may be left guessing at their meaning or logics, though not entirely passive recipients of their omens. In film, like dreams, we are at once both digesting the monuments of our day and rehearsing for a future we wish to see.


Thoroughly oneiric in inspiration and form, Richard Myers’s films draw from the truths of his day: nuclear bombs, Nixon, and novelty stores. In this program, Myers’s early film First Time Here (1964) provides the point of departure, followed by contemporary films that respond to the realities of our late-capitalist world with their own logics, mnemonics, temporalities, and futures. Today, as marketers set their eyes on our dreamscapes as their next commercial conquest, and as we look toward a new normal and process the momentous effects of these past few years, let us heed these dreams of a filmic kind. 


First Time Here

Richard Myers

1964 | 21 | 16mm

A spiraling balance of contemplations of horror and whimsical fantasy, Myers has described this film as a “celebration of the absurd mess” that humanity has gotten itself into, yet themes of renewal are nested within its macabre content.


Stay With Me, The World is a Devastating Place

Angelo Madsen Minax

2021 | 9 | HD video


The result of a deep dive into the Channel 8 News archive in Dallas, Texas, this film reimagines politicians, citizens, and news anchors as portents of late-stage capitalism. It is, at once, the immediate fallout of the era of Myers’s film and a conversation we are having now about the compounded impacts of our collective decisions.


Sacris Pulso

Ana Vaz

2008 | 15  | 16-8mm transfer DVCAM

Addressing the twinned specters of colonialism and modernity, Sacris Pulso coalesces in dreamlike layers of appropriated images. Vaz resituates the 1986 film Brasiliários, which depicts writer Clarice Lispector, played by Vaz’s mother, Claudia Periera, and scored by her father, Guilherme Vaz, as Lispector encounters the city of her dreams.



Kevin Jerome Everson

2021 | 11 | 16mm transferred to digital


Fireflies wander along the throughlines of a summer marked by continued social reckoning. The sounds of the day melt away to bring our focus to the singular macrocosm of beings whose existence goes on despite us.


Crow Requiem

Cauleen Smith

2015 | 11 | video

Smith follows the migration pattern of a flock of crows between Syracuse and Auburn, NY, two cities that were key stops on the Underground Railroad and historic places of cinematic innovation, drawing parallels between the crows and the continued violence against black bodies.


Mnemonics of Shape and Reason

Sky Hopinka

2021 | 4 |  HD video

Land and sea merge to collectively decry a “humid world” and figures walk among the clouds like sirens to awaken us to our truer senses.





Julia Yezbick is a filmmaker, educator, and anthropologist with a PhD in Media Anthropology and Critical Media Practice from Harvard University. Her creative work has shown internationally at festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival and the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies and Production at Oakland University, Yezbick is also the founding Editor of Sensate, an online media-based journal, and co-directs Mothlight Microcinema in Detroit.