Tag Archives: Drawn & Quartered

“Lynne Sachs: Between Thought and Expression” – Museum of the Moving Image to host Sachs Retrospective

Museum of the Moving Image 


Lynne Sachs: Between Thought and Expression

January 13–31, 2021

For more than thirty years, artist Lynne Sachs has constructed short, bold mid-length, and feature films incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, and observational documentary. Her highly self-reflexive films have variously explored the relations between the body, camera, and the materiality of film itself; histories of personal, social, and political trauma; marginalized communities and their labor; and her own family life, slipping seamlessly between modes, from documentary essays to diaristic shorts. On the occasion of her latest feature, Film About a Father Who, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the artist’s maddeningly mercurial father, the Museum is pleased to present a career-ranging survey of Sachs’s work, including new HD presentations of Drawn and QuarteredThe House of Science: a museum of false facts, and Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam, as well as the premiere of Maya at 24, the third edition of Sach’s temporal portrait of her daughter.

Organized by Assistant Curator of Film Edo Choi.
Special thanks to Canyon Cinema and Cinema Guild for their support in organizing this program.

All films will be presented in MoMI’s Virtual Cinema, including a new video interview between Lynne Sachs and Edo Choi, which will be available exclusively to ticket holders.

Tickets: An all-series pass (including Film About a Father Who) is available for $30 ($26 MoMI members). A pass for just the repertory portion is $20 ($16 members) / individual program tickets are $5. Tickets for Film About a Father Who are $12 ($10 members).

All films are directed by Lynne Sachs.

Program 1: Early Dissections
In her first three films, Sachs performs an exuberant autopsy of the medium itself, reveling in the investigation of its formal possibilities and cultural implications: the disjunctive layering of visual and verbal phrases in Still Life with Woman and Four Objects; un-split regular 8mm film as a metaphorical body and site of intercourse in the optically printed Drawn and Quartered; the scopophilic and gendered intentions of the camera’s gaze in Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning. These experiments anticipate the range of the artist’s mature work, beginning with her first essayistic collage The House of Science: a museum of false facts. Itself an autopsy, this mid-length film exposes the anatomy of western rationalism as a framework for sexual subjugation via a finely stitched patchwork of sounds and images from artistic renderings to archival films, home movies to staged performances.

Still Life with Woman and Four Objects (1986, 4 mins.)
Drawn and Quartered (1987, 4 mins. New HD presentation)
Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning (1987, 9 mins.)
The House of Science: a museum of false facts (1991, 30 mins. New HD presentation)

Program 2: Family Travels
One of Lynne Sachs’s most sheerly beautiful films, Which Way Is East is a simultaneously intoxicating and politically sobering diary of encounters with the sights, sounds, and people of Vietnam, as Sachs pays a visit to her sister Dana and the two set off north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. The film is paired here with a very different kind of family journey The Last Happy Day, recounting the life of Sachs’s distant cousin Sandor Lenard, a Jewish Hungarian doctor who survived the Second World War and was ultimately hired to reassemble the bones of dead American soldiers. Here Sachs journeys through time as opposed to space, as she assembles a typically colorful array of documentary and performative elements, including Sandor’s letters, a children’s performance, and highly abstracted war footage, to bring us closer to a man who bore witness to terrible things. This program also features The Last Happy Day’s brief predecessor, The Small Ones. Program running time: 73 mins.

Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam (1994, 33 mins. New HD presentation)
The Small Ones (2007, 3 mins.)
The Last Happy Day (2009, 37 mins.)

Program 3: Time Passes
Twenty years unspool over nine short films: portraits of Lynne Sachs’s children; visits with her mother, brother, niece and nephew; a tribute to the city where she lives; and scenes of sociopolitical trauma and protest. Nearly all shot on super 8mm or 16mm, and often silent, each work is at once a preservation of a moment and a record of change, seamlessly weaving together the candid and the performed gesture, the public and the private memory, in a simultaneously objective and subjective posture toward the passing of time. Program running time: 51 mins.

Photograph of Wind (2001, 4 mins.)
Tornado (2002, 4 mins.)
Noa, Noa (2006, 8 mins.)
Georgic for a Forgotten Planet (2008, 11 mins.)
Same Stream Twice (2012, 4 mins.)
Viva and Felix Growing Up (2015, 10 mins.)
Day Residue (2016, 3 mins.)
And Then We Marched (2017, 3 mins.)
Maya at 24 (2021, 4 mins. World premiere)

Program 4: Your Day Is My Night
2013, 64 mins. “This bed doesn’t necessarily belong to any one person,” someone says early in Your Day Is My Night. It could be the metaphorical thesis of this film, perhaps Lynne Sachs’s most self-effacing and meditative work. A seamless blend of closely observed verité footage, interpretive performance, and confessional monologues and interviews, the film doesn’t document so much as create a space to accommodate the stories and experiences of seven Chinese immigrants from ages 58 to 78 who live together in a “shift-bed” apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Sachs’s quilted sense of form achieves a new level of refinement and delicacy in collaboration with her cameraman Sean Hanley and her editor Amanda Katz, as she works with the participants to exhume a collective history of migration and struggle.

Program 5: Tip of My Tongue
2017, 80 mins. Sachs’s richly generative Tip of My Tongue finds the filmmaker responding to her 50th birthday by gathering twelve members of her generational cohort—friends and peers all born between 1958 and 1964, and originating as far as Cuba, Iran, and Australia—to participate in the creation of a choral work about the convergent and divergent effects history leaves upon those who live it. From the Kennedy assassination to Occupy Wall Street, the participants reveal their memories of, and reflections upon, the transformative experiences of their lives. Set to an ecstatic, pulsing score by Stephen Vitiello, the film interweaves these personal confessions with impressionistic images of contemporary New York, obscured glimpses of archival footage, and graphically rendered fragments of text to create a radiant prism of collective memory. Preceded by Sachs’s frantic record of accumulated daily to-do lists, A Year in Notes and Numbers (2018, 4 mins.).

Two Films by Lynne Sachs on Dogmilk Films (Australia)

Dogmilk Films
August 2020 – September 8, 2020
Eclectic Visions
Watch Until September 8, 2020|read in English Bahasa Indonesian|vist the archive

Drawn and Quartered (1948) & Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor are available for streaming: https://www.dogmilkfilms.com/vodmilk

Eclectic Visions presents a collection of experimental films created solely by female artists that span from across the globe. Each share vastly different approaches to their work; with concepts ranging from the elusiveness of dreams, to documenting the everyday, they all however equally present a unifying force that is the expansiveness of filmmaking. These women of multi-faceted practices, ages and backgrounds share a deep connection to the moving image, whether that image is captured through super 8, 16mm or digital.

In their own way filmmakers Audrey Lam, Lynne Sachs, Azucena Losana, Adelaide Norris, Barbara Meter and Eliza Roberts aspire to dismantle conventional forms of narrative by blending together techniques from both cinema and video art, and it is through their own explorations and experimentations that we become accustomed to the notion that the ways of seeing and viewing the filmic image can be reborn. 

Selected by Veronica Charmont and Lola Hewison

Indonesian translation and subtitles by Afifah Tasya

A Pocketful Of Song Audrey Lam, 2018, 17 mins
A bustling market street chimes with the gentle chaos of a lone, decades-old collectible coin and stamp shop in its midst. The elderly shop owner shares stories of the stamps and the world passing by.

Drawn and Quartered Lynne Sachs, 1987, 4 mins
In 1984, Lynne’s Uncle gave her a Regular 8 Filmo Camera. He explained to her the intricacies of the camera, warning her not to forget to ‘flip the reel and camera and shoot the rest’, otherwise, he says, “it will appear topsy-turvy”. Three years later, Lynne picked up the camera, she was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. So, she says, “On one of those rare, warm San Francisco afternoons I convinced my new boyfriend John to follow me to the roof of the Art Institute to make the first movie I would ever shoot in Regular 8mm”. “That must have been the year I first encountered Laura Mulvey’s theory of the ‘male gaze’, seen in Carolee Schneeman’s “Fuses”, pondered Yvonne Rainer’s “Lives of Performers”. Sachs explains that she took the roll to the lab, she begged them not to split the film as usual. As she describes, “within the parameters of the image gestalt, we are dancing together without ever touching. Our two bodies remain totally distinct and apart.”

Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor Lynne Sachs, 2018, 9 mins
Lynne Sachs’ film Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor is an intimate and sincere composition of 3 artists; Carolee Schneeman, Barbara Hammer and Gunvor Nelson. Pioneers of the moving image in their respective art forms, Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor are given time and space to recount their artistic achievements, intentions and lives as female artists.

At Your Heels Azucena Losana, 2017, 2 mins
At Your Heels refers to a recurring dream where I arrive in a foreign city and look for a person everywhere and just can’t find them, just the traces left behind. The film was made during a residency in Prague, I was learning to develop black and white film. It was my first time filming on 16mm and as well as in colour. My Czech friends lent me a Krasnogorsk camera and I used some expired film that an Argentinian friend gave me. I always wanted to film the modern patterns on the metro stations, they are from outer space! I edited on the camera, triggering with the shortest possible shot (probably 6 or 8 frames). This is part of a series of short films looking at cities.

Appointment Adelaide Norris, 2019, 12 mins
Appointment went from being a reason to bring a bunch of girls/non binary people together and keeping them skating as an opportunity to give room to the minorities within the industry. We were so stoked meeting up n going to skateboarding video premiers that we decided we want do our own thing – it then went from our first video ABD to Appointment which started aiming more so at giving space for people that aren’t often given light in skateboarding, something for those types of people to see and be inspired to do themselves hopefully.

Headless Brim Eliza Roberts, 2019, 14mins
Cinema has long been used as a tool to reflect and expand upon time: past, present and future. Headless Brim seeks to encompass these different states, blurring the lines between reality and fiction, and grappling with notions of memory. Headless Brimsits somewhere between meditation and narrative, where as viewers, we are pulled in and out of interior and exterior worlds.

A Touch Barbara Meter, 2008, 13 mins
Wordless experimental collage of impressions and moods. Grainy fragments of landscapes, flakes whirl in the wind. Fog and mist, shadows of people in the city and by the water. Silhouettes that fade and turn into pure light and shadow until we discern the specks and scratches on the film strip itself. Sometimes, for a fraction of a second, a face, a person. A film as a memory that eludes us. Music by Alan Seip.

Third Man Records to feature experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs






Third Man Records to feature experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs
by Joe Nolan

Knoxville-born Quentin Tarantino is argu- ably Tennessee’s most important contribution to popular film, but there’s another filmmaker whose personal, sometimes mesmerizing, body of work has made her the Volunteer State’s most visible ambassador to the world of ex- perimental film. Lynne Sachs is currently a New Yorker, but the Memphis-born director will be in Nashville for The Light and Sound Machine’s presentation of Yes/No: The Cinema of Lynne Sachs on Thursday, Sept. 17, aTt 8 p.m. in the Blue Room at Third Man Records. Sachs will be presenting a selection of films from her 30-year career followed by a Q&A event.

Sachs divides many of her movies into two categories: “Yes” films and “No” films. In film- maker and critic Kevin B. Lee’s short video essay, Yes and No Films, he interviews Sachs about the distinctions between the two:

“I have a group of films I’ve made called my Yes films and I have a group of films called my No films. The Yes films are films where absolutely anything goes… Then I have the No films—but, No is not bad. The No films have a really clear idea, and I’m like quite focused.”

Still Life with Woman and Four Objects (1986) is one of the Yes films Sachs will show on Thursday. It pictures a woman putting on a black-and-white-checkered houndstooth coat. She then takes an avocado from a pantry and peels it before balancing the pit on the top of a glass of water. She sits at a table eating a meal—a man stops briefly at the table. The last scene pictures the woman putting on the coat again, inter-cut with shots of her sitting on the bed, seeming to comment about the author of a letter.

That might sound like a rather random ar- rangement of events, and it is, and that’s part of the beauty of Sach’s “anything goes” Yes films.

But it’s not the content that makes Still Life notable, it’s the context Sachs creates around it that lashes these rituals and actions into a more dynamic whole: During the first coat shots, a voice-over sounds like it’s reading from a script, describing “scene one” and then “scene two,” while the coat shots repeat themselves— the lack of repetition in the ongoing voice-over tells the viewer that the shot has been cut that way on purpose. This makes the viewer aware of the script and the editing as well as the woman and her coat. The film was made in the late 1980s but it speaks directly to the French New Wave films of the 1960s with their mischievous love of techniques that pointed cinema back at itself, not allowing audiences to get lost in the illusion of a seamless narrative. The use of mismatched scenes and voice-overs seems specifically out of Jean-Luc Godard’s cinema and it’s no surprise that Sachs credits his Vivre Sa Vie as an influence here.

The poetic intimacies of nude images and naked interactions are the subject of the silent study of male and female forms, Drawn and Quartered (1986). I love the punning title here—the camera crawls around the “out- line” of necks and shoulders, along fingers and feet from the point of view of an artist’s hand drawing the figures. Sachs also divides her screen up into four quarters, nodding to male/female duality while also disorienting the viewer and turning the experience into a sensual confusion of androgynous play. Drawn is a No film that Sachs directed with strict limits she illuminates at the Fandor.com streaming film site:

“I shot a film on a roof with my boyfriend. Every frame was choreographed. Both of us took off our clothing and let the Bolex whirl and that was it. Pure and simple.”

Thursday’s screenings will also include Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning (1987), which is a companion piece to Still Life; Investigation of a Flame (2001), an experimental portrait of Vietnam War peace activists; Photograph of Wind (2001), Sachs’s meditation on passing time and her growing daughter, Maya; Noa, Noa (2006), Sach’s exploration of childhood play with her daughter, Noa. Sachs will also show selected scenes from Every Fold Matters (2015) and screen her newest work, Starfish Aorta Collosus (2015).

Drawn and Quartered

This film is currently screening as a part of the retrospective “Lynne Sachs: Between Thought and Expression” at the Museum of the Moving Image. For inquiries, please contact info@lynnesachs.com

“Drawn and Quartered”, 4 min. color 16mm. by Lynne Sachs
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, 1987

“Images of a male form (on the left) and a female form (right) exist in their own private domains, separated by a barrier. Only for a moment does the one intrude upon the pictorial space of the other.” – Albert Kilchesty, LA Filmforum

San Francisco Film Festival, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, Installation at Pacific Film Archive “Way Bay 2” Survey of Bay Area Art 2018.

an essay by Lynne Sachs

My great Uncle Charlie was a prominent Memphis businessman who took a giddy pleasure in shooting some of the most elegant, compassionate photographs I’ve ever seen.  I remember his close-up portrait taken in the late 1950’s of a wizened black man looking into the lens.  I would sneak into the back hall of his house to look at this image, as if those large eyes revealed to me all the horrors of a segregated South that was beginning, thank god, to disappear.  The face still haunts me.

None of Uncle Charlie’s children or even grandchildren took much interest in photography.  My teenage obsession with the camera thus became the reason we developed such a long-lasting relationship.  He and I would spend hours together looking at the photographs we’d both taken.  These were the first rigorous, aesthetic dialogues around image-making I’d ever had.

One afternoon in 1984,  when were sitting side-by-side in Uncle Charlie’s study pouring over some travel slides, I announced that I wanted to be a filmmaker.  I was 22 years old. Uncle Charlie’s response was immediate and silent. He got up abruptly, pulled an object from a bureau drawer, and handed me a heavy, brown camera that looked and felt like an army hand grenade. This was the first time I had ever seen a Regular 8 Filmo camera.  He carefully explained to me how a 50 foot reel fit into the casing, that I needed to shoot half the reel one way, then open the camera, flip the reel and camera and shoot the rest.  “Beware,” he warned me, “if you forget to shoot the second half with the camera right-side up the world will appear topsy-turvy. After you shoot all three minutes, send the film to a lab to have it processed and split down the middle.”

“SPLIT IT DOWN THE MIDDLE?” I thought to myself,  “How violent, how intriguing, how corporeal.” Strangely enough, I didn’t actually use the camera until three years later.  It was the fall of 1987, and I was a new graduate student at the San Francisco Art Institute.  By this time, I’d aligned myself with the film avant-garde.  Every normal way of doing anything with a camera was anathema.  My little Filmo cine hand grenade still had an aura I couldn’t resist.  It finally beckoned me to be used.  On one of those rare, warm San Francisco afternoons I convinced my new boyfriend John to follow me to the roof of the Art Institute to make the first movie I would ever shoot in Regular 8mm.  Despite having no experience whatsoever with the camera, I’d meticulously planned every shot we would make together.  Perhaps I’d been inspired by the organized fluidity of Maya Deren’s “Choreography for the Camera”.  Just as significant, I believe, were the mechanical properties of that Filmo.  What would happen if I didn’t rip apart the spinal chord of the film itself?

Once we reached the roof, I surprised John by informing him that we would both have to take off our clothes.  I then explained that I would shoot images of him for the first 1 1/2 minutes of film and that he would shoot the second half of me.  He wasn’t happy with the rules, but he accepted them for the three hours it took.   That must have been the year I first encountered Laura Mulvey’s theory of the “male gaze”, seen Carolee Schneeman’s “Fuses”, pondered Yvonne Rainer’s “Lives of Performers”.  The artistic practice of being a feminist in the late 1980’s was whirling wildly in my mind.

When I took the roll to the lab, I begged them NOT to split the film as they normally would, to leave it all in tact after the processing.  The resulting 8mm footage was simultaneously thrilling (artistically) and humiliating (personally).  There were our two nude bodies on the same screen but also divided by four equilateral frames.  I looked at John (fine…); John looked at me (yikes!).  Within the parameters of the image gestalt, we are dancing together without ever touching.  Our two bodies remain totally distinct and apart.

My immediate reaction took me directly to the editing room where I cut out all the frames of my face.  I wanted to erase myself from the film.  I held these “out takes” in my hand, breathing a sigh of relief at knowing that my nude body could never be identified.  Then I felt strangely ashamed at my own un-hip cowardice.  A few days later, I returned to the splicer and “reconstituted” my body by replacing my face, owning up to what I’d made, and, in a way, accepting my own body with all its flab and flaws.  This was years before the time of “nondestructive” (digital) editing, so if you were to look closely at the finished film print now on 16mm you would see those cuts (SCARS!!).  You would see the mark making that reveals so much about my apprehension in those days.

At that moment, the technological limitations of Uncle Charlie’s hallowed regular 8mm Filmo movie camera lead me to a know place as an artist.  Scared and anxious but also aware of a burgeoning excitement, I named my little movie “Drawn and Quartered”.  Months later, I screened the silent movie to a packed audience at San Francisco’s Red Vic Theatre on Haight Street.  Within those few painful minutes, the crowd went from absolute silence, to raucous laughter and back to an exquisite quiet.  I was shaking.


The Film-Makers’ Cooperative

Canyon Cinema:

DVD: Lynne Sachs: 10 Short Films and Videos, Vol. 3