PRESS

Last Happy Day — Lynne Sachs Director’s Statement

“In 2009, I completed The Last Happy Day, a film that uses both real and imagined stories about Sandor Lenard, a distant cousin of mine and a Hungarian medical doctor. (See text above for description). Several years ago I traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil to film Sandor’s eighty-five year old wife, Andrietta. She described in vivid, almost dreamy, detail her husband’s macabre work. I listened to her recount his daily contact with the detritus of war, wondering to myself why we so rarely think about who is responsible for “cleaning up” the dead. Later in the film, Andrietta’s graphic, realistic recollections stir visual ruminations on this futile act of posthumous, cosmetic surgery.

“Wind in Our Hair Blows Down Walls” in Memphis Commercial Appeal

Con Viento en Pelo begins and ends with the approaching rumble of a train engine. For the young protagonists of the film, the train represents both a source of freedom and an interjection of cold, adult reality into their innocent, sheltered existence. This film forgoes a traditional narrative in favor of an exploration of the sensations that accompany the burgeoning adolescence of four Argentinean girls. This causes the film to unfold as a documentary of emotions, so to speak, rather than a conventional movie. Director Lynne Sachs is far more concerned with capturing textures, sounds, and feelings, the ingredients of memories, than action or dialogue. For example, in an early scene, Sachs juxtaposes a soft-focused close-up of a fluffy, wet dog with the cold, austere barbed wire fences of the Buenos Aires slums.

New Films by Lynne Sachs Reviewed in Chicago Reader

Sachs’s daughters and their friends read from this text and and recite bits of Lenard’s biography, providing a piquant tonal contrast to the archival footage and the interviews with his son and his second wife. A visit to Buenos Aires and short stories by Julio Cortazar inspired the dreamy narrative Wind in Our Hair (2009, 42 min.), which deals with sisterhood, children’s games, passing trains, and brief encounters.

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 presents three films in Pamplona, Spain

A filmmaker who started work in the second half of the Eighties, Lynne Sachs effortlessly saunters between film, video, the internet and gallery installations. Principally concerned with the involvement of individuals in History, Lynne Sachs’ films often adopt the film essay form to explore the interrelationship between collective and subjective memory. Her films mix the most experimental and poetic of approaches with live recording, archive material and a range of narrative sources, all with the same air of ease.

Blogs and Docs interview with Lynne Sachs (Spanish)

Su estilo cinematográfico, siempre en movimiento, se ubica en la encrucijada del cine documental, experimental y de ensayo autobiográfico al mismo tiempo que transciende cualquiera de estas categorías preestablecidas. (Pablo Marin)

History of NYC reviews Abecedarium:NYC

A HISTORY OF NEW YORK website describes Abecedarium:NYC: “A wonderful, continuously expanding site sponsored in part by New York Public Library: Abecedarium:NYC. The whole thing seems designed to lead you down the path of hours spent exploring. The perfect site for people who love words as much as they love New York.”

Lynne in the NYT’s for Views from the Avant-Garde

Among the 60 or so titles on offer are new works by Leslie Thornton, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Harun Farocki, Michael Snow, Peggy Ahwesh, Lewis Klahr, Ken Jacobs, Lynne Sachs, Ernie Gehr and other giants of the avant-garde, as well as a generous selection of films by emerging artists.

Jewish Week Review of “The Last Happy Day”

It would be tempting but altogether too glib to make a similar comparison between recent American documentaries and Lynne Sachs’ fascinating 38-minute film “The Last Happy Day.” Sachs takes a very unconventional approach to the Holocaust-related story of her distant cousin, a Jewish-Hungarian doctor named Sandor Lenard. Lenard fled Germany shortly before the war broke out, abandoning his medical practice and his non-Jewish first wife and son. He turned up in the unlikely haven of Fascist Italy, where he hid escaped POWs in his attic apartment in Rome. Eventually, he worked as a forensic anthropologist helping the American army’s Graves Registry unit in identifying the remains of GIs.