ARTICLES

Otherzine Review of Experiments in Documentary Issue of Millennium Film Journal #51

How do you make a doc that’s not a doc? How do you make an experimental film that is not one? How and why do moving image experimenters and documentarians combine their genres? Howard Guttenplan’s Millennium Film Journal (Spring/Summer 2009, #51) deeply penetrates these questions and creative cross-fertilizations. Guest editors, Lucas Hilderbrand and Lynne Sachs have gathered innovators to fill 100 pages of insights. Jill Godmilow’s advice to abandon “truth claims, intimacy and satisfying forms” recalls genre-bending pioneer Luis Bunuel’s “I have always been on the side of those who seek the truth, but I part ways with them when they think they have found it.” Reading MFJ raises new questions. Richard Fung queries, “What kind of truths can be communicated better in documentary than in fiction – and vice versa?” This echoes Faulkner’s “Sometimes the best fiction is more true than journalism.” The essays provoke us to examine the motives and consequences of these media practitioners.

LYNNE SACHS Notes to future lovers: an interview

I hope I have managed to get across at least some of what I wanted to. I made this a Yes essay for me. I just went where the wind took me. Some of it is perfect, like how I wanted, and some of it is far from it. Thank you for letting me interview you. [art] lives in the lining of your skin. I always seem to wish I had more time.

Being and Seeing with Jem Cohen

A few nights ago, on the first crisp evening of autumn, I emerged from a film screening at the Millennium Film Workshop onto East 4th Street in Manhattan with Jem Cohen. Nested in the sublime clutter and cacophony of the Lower East Side, this block between 2nd and 3rd Avenue is home to some of the most innovative theater and film venues in New York City. It’s a dark, quiet, albeit decrepit, building that seems to hide its cinematic and theatrical secrets with a kind of futuristic pleasure. As we headed east toward the subway that would lead us both to our homes in Brooklyn, Jem gasped, not really out of fear or even surprise, but rather as if an internal light had gone on inside his mind, awakening a memory he needed to release. “Wait,” he exclaimed, “let’s go this way instead. I want to show you the most beautiful building in New York City.”

Thoughts on Argentine Cinema by Lynne Sachs and Mark Street

An Argentine excursion: film frames, talk therapy, and ice cream. By Mark Street and Lynne Sachs (with Pablo Marin) http://www.gonzocircus.com/blog/?page_id=693 Our cinematic relationship to Argentina began in March of 2007, when the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI) invited Lynne to show a retrospective of her films.  During the one week she was […]

Bruce Conner Remembered

Bruce Conner died in the summer of 2008. For those who may not know, he was a Beat generation artist, the first filmmaker to see the value in “found footage”, and an extraordinary visionary. His collages and films are in museums and archives all over the world. Two different people in Buenos Aires, where I was living last summer, mentioned his death to me without even knowing that I knew him. Bruce was a very important person in my life and psyche.

History of the Artist Abecedarium

Anthropologists, filmmakers, linguists, musicians, painters, poets, writers — all share a fascination with the 26 letters of the alphabet. An abecedarium is traditionally an educational book for children containing words beginning with each letter, but for centuries it has also been a resource for creative work by artists in almost every media. This history of the abecedarium will look at a selection of artists whose intentions are both to celebrate and disrupt this most basic and widespread system of verbal communication.

Watching Richard Fung’s “Sea in the Blood”

Thinking about Richard Fung’s “Sea in the Blood” By Lynne Sachs Two men swimming, the flow of skin against the skin, and there below the surface of the water is a camera.  Richard Fung’s lens is an activated observation machine, the eye gazing at the self.  His memory becomes an animal in the pool – […]

Thoughts on Birth and Brakhage

From California to Florida to New York to Maryland to Tennessee, I’ve been making and teaching avant-garde film for 20 years. In my experience, there is only one film, of the many works to which I expose my college students, that consistently creates a passionate, call it vitriolic, reaction: Stan Brakhage’s “Window, Water, Baby, Moving”(1959, 12 min.).

Tran Trang’s Blindness Series: My Letter to Helene Cixous

Thoughts on Tran Kim Trang’s Decade with Blindness: A Letter to Helene Cixous from Lynne Sachs “I want to see what is secret.  What is hidden amongst the visible.  I want to see the skin of the light.” from “Writing Blind:  Conversation with the Donkey” in Stigmata by Helene Cixous Dear Helene, …I begin by […]

Thoughts on the films of Gunvor Nelson

It’s taken me seventeen years to realize what an inspiration Gunvor Nelson is for me as a filmmaker, a teacher and a mother who allowed her work as an artist to grow and change as a result of her decision to become a parent.  Aspects of the life she led in the Bay Area during […]