1978, Directed by Amram Nowak and Meredith Monk, 88 minutes
Described by Meredith Monk as a “memorial piece for a world at war” and an “opera in three movements,” Quarry is a typically difficult-to-classify multimedia piece by Monk, combining dance, song, film, and theatrical performance. Set during World War II, Quarry is told from the expressionistic perspective of a sickly child (played by Monk), whose idyllic domestic life becomes increasingly distorted and terrifying as news of the world enters her home and reshapes her imagination.
After its Obie-winning run in 1976, Quarry was re-staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was filmed by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Director Amram Nowak shot the performance from a wide perspective to document the staging and choreography, but Monk later discovered the close-ups by second cameraperson Jerry Pantzer (a future collaborator on Monk’s films, Book of Days and Ellis Island) and edited them into the final work. The restoration presented here premiered in 2019 at Anthology Film Archives.
Big Ears presentation of Quarry is curated and co-presented by The Public Cinema.