About Stephen Dwoskin
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1939, the experimental filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin first came to live in London in 1964. In New York he had mixed with Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd and shown his films at the Film-Makers’ Co-operative, losing one of them to the police. From his new base in what was then the bohemian enclave of Notting Hill, he made his name with a string of short films, shown in the underground milieu, before turning his hand to features in 1970.
During his most productive years in the 1960s and ’70s, Dwoskin was part of an international film culture in which experimental work was more visible than at any time before or since. While established institutions of film culture such as the British Film Institute and Cannes Film Festival attempted to adapt to the wild new cinemas emerging from the social and political tumult of the late 1960s, the makers of this new cinema, Dwoskin included, tried to create institutions of their own such as the London Film-Makers’ Co-op and The Other Cinema.
His often sexually explicit films, such as Trixi (1971), influenced Laura Mulvey’s seminal work of feminist film criticism, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, published in 1975, which put forward the theory of the ‘male gaze’.
Having contracted polio as a child, Dwoskin had limited mobility, and several of his films, starting with Behindert (1974), reflect on his experience of lifelong disability. Face of Our Fear was made for Channel 4 to launch its landmark 1992 season ‘Disabling World’. This, and other Dwoskin projects of the 1980s and ’90s, belong to the category of the ‘essay film’, or personal documentary.
He died in 2012; his final film, Age Is…, debuted at Tate Modern later that year.