YES/NO: THE CINEMA OF LYNNE SACHS
(1986-2015, 16mm & Digital, color & b/w, trt 88min)
SEPTEMBER 17th @ Third Man Records, Doors @ 7pm, films at 8pm
Likely the most accomplished experimental filmmaker to come from Tennessee, Memphis-native Lynne Sachs’ 30-year career has produced some of the most mesmerizing, contemplative observations on culture and communication ever committed to celluloid (and sometimes digital video.) Her work effortlessly infuses personal experiences into broader political/historical contexts, deploying a cinematic style that is uniquely her own while still evoking her collaborations and relationships with a veritable who’s who of avant garde cinema, including Bruce Conner, Chris Marker, Gunvor Nelson, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and George Kuchar. Currently based in New York, September 17th marks Sachs’ return to Tennessee for a sweeping retrospective of her films at the 28th installment of The Light & Sound Machine, sponsored by The Belcourt Theatre and Third Man Records.
STILL LIFE WITH WOMAN AND FOUR OBJECTS (4 min. B&W 16mm film, 1986)
A film portrait that falls somewhere between a painting and a prose poem, a look at a woman’s daily routines and thoughts via an exploration of her as a “character”. By interweaving threads of history and fiction, the film is also a tribute to a real woman – Emma Goldman.
FOLLOWING THE OBJECT TO ITS LOGICAL BEGINNING (9 min. color 16mm. 1987)
Like an animal in one of Eadweard Muybridge’s scientific photo experiments, five undramatic moments in a man’s life are observed by a woman. A study in visual obsession and a twist on the notion of the “gaze”. Presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s “American Century”, 2000.
DRAWN AND QUARTERED (4 min. color 16mm film, silent, 1986)
Optically printed images of a man and a woman fragmented by a film frame that is divided into four distinct sections. An experiment in form/content relationships that are peculiar to the medium.
INVESTIGATION OF A FLAME (16mm, 45 min. film. 2001)
An intimate, experimental portrait of the Catonsville Nine, a disparate band of Vietnam War peace activists who chose to break the law in a defiant, poetic act of civil disobedience. Produced with Daniel and Philip Berrigan and other members of the Catonsville 9.
PHOTOGRAPH OF WIND (4 min. 16mm film, silent,2001)
My daughter’s name is Maya. I’ve been told that the word maya means illusion in Hindu philosophy. As I watch her growing up, spinning like a top around me, I realize that her childhood is not something I can grasp but rather – like the wind – something I feel tenderly brushing across my cheek. “Sachs suspends in time a single moment of her daughter.” Fred Camper, Chicago Reader. San Francisco Film Festival
NOA, NOA (8 min. b & w 16mm to digital transfer, 2006)
Over the course of three years, Sachs collaborated with her daughter Noa (from 5 to 8 years old), criss-crossing the wooded landscapes of Brooklyn with camera and costumes in hand. Noa’s grand finale is her own rendition of the bluegrass classic “Crawdad Song”.
EVERY FOLD MATTERS (10 min. excerpt from live performance and film, co-written and directed by Lizzie Olesker, 2015)
A live performance which explores the personal and social experience of doing laundry. Four performers weave together improvisation, written text, and dance in the inspiring environs of a public laundromat.
STARFISH AORTA COLOSSUS (4 min., 8mm to digital transfer, 2015)
NYC poet Paolo Javier invited Lynne to create a film that would speak to one of his poems from his newly published book Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books). Sachs chose Stanza 10 from Javier’s poem “Starfish Aorta Colossus”. This film travels through 25 years of Lynne’s Regular 8 mm film archive — including footage of the A.I.D.S. Quilt from the late 1980s, an arduous drive from Tampa to San Francisco, and a journey into a very untouristic part of Puerto Rico. Throughout the process, Sachs explores the syntactical ruptures, the celebration of nouns and the haunting resonances of Javier’s poem. Created in collaboration with Sean Hanley.
See Review of this show here in the Nashville Scene: