“He knows he will live in me after he is dead, I will carry him like a mother. I do not know if I will ever deliver.”
Sharon Olds, from the book of poems, The Father
There are so many possible entry points into Lynne Sachs’s A Film About a Father Who, an incredibly poignant and astute film sonnet on the director’s father, Ira Nathan Sachs, that over my repeated viewings I’ve begun to think of the film as a kind of quilt. Each of its patches unique and carefully hand-stitched into the fabric of its mosaic parts. Or perhaps a wondrous maze that a viewer winds her way through, and out, by pulling a delicate Ariadne’s thread.
I think it’s apt that the Greek mythology should have sprung to my mind. Aren’t all families somehow mythic, especially the troubled ones? The patriarch of the Sachs clan is certainly very Sphinx-like: an object, at once, of boundless adoration and love, but also a slippery man of mystery whose acts arouse genuine puzzlement in all his children. A god whose many faces are like a visage of a broken statue — bits that can never be whole again, but only awkwardly pieced, with glue, disjointed surfaces showing through, sharp edges painful to the touch.
In the film’s first introductory clip, the scionSachs, Sr. appears with his characteristic wisps of blond hair clinging to his skull, his bushy moustache, and somewhat restless and piercing blue eyes. He’s a “hippie businessman,” who “works as little as possible,” and “bottles water he can never stock.” In one shot, he stands framed by a mountainous vista (it turns out that Sachs developed hotels in Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival is held). The father speaks of his love for skiing, where you “go up slow and come down fast.” A comment that Sachs comments on in her own presciently clipped way: “To own a mountain from which there is nothing you can do but come down.”
I was struck by how this sentence is a gorgeous metaphor for pretty much how we relate to our parents — the most primordial love, which turns them into heroic, mythical, statue-like beings, mountain slopes from which, indeed, they can only come down. And how much of growing into adulthood is about the sudden vertigo of having to rewind, recalibrate our memories of the familial bind, from the times when we were still too innocent, too small, to have truly understood it. If we love them enough, we catch them coming down. We are mindful to pick up the pieces, glimpsing in their downfall from immortal heights the first sightings of our own fragility.
A Film About a Father Who is then an origin story, but one that’s never smug about its certainties, and always self-doubtful of how “it all” began. Sachs opens the film with a scene in which she’s cutting her elderly father’s hair, a moment so low-key yet so potent, because it is non-verbal. Everything else in the film – the tale of how the father managed to lie and cheat for so many years, how he hid his multiple affairs and his many children by different women from each other, for decades – all this will need to be explained. But the hair-cutting, with Sachs holding the scissors, untangling the knots, so that to snip them, lives outside language, time, it is an act of generosity and love, through which a small portion of care may me given back. Then there’s the scissors, which once again circle back to the metaphor of quilting, cutting things to pieces, and stitching them together — film editing itself like quilting, the kind of hands-on experimental cinema that Sachs practices, in particular, like the intricate, patient, artisanal task.
Sachs begins her story with the immediate family nucleus, her father, mother and her siblings, Dana and the filmmaker Ira Sachs. In this first central patch, there is still a certain sense of cohesion, as if the rest of the film could shoulder the illusion of producing a unified body of work; as if the process of delving into the past could heal, through rendering the small patches whole. Nothing like this occurs, it turns out. The more there is to discover, the more women and children enter the picture, the more quilt-like the film’s overall composition becomes. It demands to be seen as unruly, with each person, each story and heartache, finding its own proper place.
Among the father’s lovers are Diana, whose faint voice betrays terrible shyness, both on the subject’s part, but perhaps also the filmmaker’s. The inherent question of how to probe without hurting, how to make space for learning and empathy, but also establish a critical distance, is always keenly felt. Over the course of the film, this empathetic investigation becomes emboldened — either reflecting the director’s natural progression, or perhaps a mere artifact of thoughtful, painstaking editing, through which each woman’s testimony enriches the others. With Diana, for example, Sachs plants the idea of “companionship,” which apparently Sachs’s father used to seduce the young immigrant, Diana. And yet, Diana’s profile, cast against a dim window, is so lonely, so desolate, the word gains a heartbreaking, bitterly ironic twang.
If, as Tolstoy believed, all happy families are alike, but the unhappy ones suffer in distinct ways, Sachs’s film is indeed an epic that embodies a Tolstoian ethos. “I’ve been making this film about my father for twenty-six years now,” Sachs says at one point. In another she adds, “Can I make myself forget that for the first twenty years of my sister’s life I didn’t know of her existence?”
It’s a challenge to tell a story of such breadth without giving in to the tyranny of summary. But Sachs is never guilty of it, perhaps because, from the start, she strikes a patient but also an ironic tone. She holds out each cesura and is never rushed. Her carefully planted voiceovers, which echo, like refrains, emphasize dissonance, slippage, and paradox—as if to borrow Emily Dickinson’s motto, “Tell the truth, but tell it slant.” It’s a particularly poignant approach to a subject who is himself quite unable to offer this level of complete honesty, or transparency. We might have grown frustrated with such a subject, as too illusive, too coy, and yet, when centered in and filtered through Sachs’s voice, her father’s slipperiness becomes part of the game, a psychological, moral, philosophical quest for a glimmer of comprehension, and solace.
Again and again, this filmic richness emerges, where the previous parts of the film serve as a commentary on what comes next. Take the early family videos, for example. There is so much light, the children bouncing about, the colors overexposed, pushed, which on one hand reminds us of the fragility of earlier technologies, but on the other, doesn’t let us forget that family videos are a particular brand of narrative—or, one might say, fantasy. One makes a family. One constructs a memory. The film contains these small patches of idealized moments, frozen in time, it holds them in, like quilted patches, but it can also reveal them as such.
What’s brilliant about A Film About a Father Who is that this commentary on the past, on the nature of memory, on storytelling, on love, so often arises directly through its own filmic material. For example, the first dialogue with the mother is framed by a window with a bright light behind it, and it too seems part of the established idealized childhood space. As if the previous Impressionist brushes of light and movement, it too seems to point to brighter times. But when the dialogue continues, with some footage in the kitchen, a subtle change can be felt: It’s as if in a Rorschach test, what first seemed like light, now is the reverse, the shadow, the impermeability that beams into the kitchen, whereas the light is shut out, outside.
Thus the film builds and sustains its own cognitive dissonance. Sometimes, Sachs’s commentary seems to almost spill over, frame to frame, like a river, sometimes lyrical, sometimes critical, on her father’s behavior—while the image occasionally stops, holds almost still, desperately focusing the lens, surrendering to a blur. Somewhere in this tension, there’s language that fails, phrases like “a hippie businessman,” which try to establish just what the father is, how he might be summed up, then slowly letting go of substantive terms, and allowing adjectives, “caring,” “selfish,” “careless,” “loving” to cast their spell. If there’s a vertigo in these descriptions, it’s once again because the Sphinx-like puzzle isn’t meant to be solved. The film presents no solution; it can only ask, but this asking is also somehow enough. It is the necessary work.
The extended family grows, and so do group meetings, to include the younger generations. Some of the father’s children are born roughly around the same time as Sachs’s own daughter, Maya. In one scene, the young woman, Beth, expresses anger at having been cast out, and grown up in a harsh financial situation. Yet another mentions that she felt like the family’s powerful matriarch, Grandmother “Maw-Maw,” was going to disinherit her son, if more children surfaced, and so her existence was hidden. Earlier hesitations or questions are recast in a more discerning light. The careful trudging around fraught issues give in to Sachs’s direct question to her father about the lies. And if there is no immediate healing within the film’s constructed timeframe, there is a gesture and a reconciliation in a therapeutic exchange, in which each person voices her own hurt.
“Daughter, sister, mother, I cleave from one to another,” Sachs comments in the voiceover, heeding the lexical and experiential complexity of her many roles. And so the film never settles. It presents no center from which to control, contain, or judge. Instead, like Ariadne’s thread, it tugs, pulls, apart, anew, and so we’re guided the maze, enlightened, by the strings of love.
About Ela Bittencourt Ela Bittencourt is a critic and cultural journalist, currently based in São Paulo. She writes on art, film and literature, often in the context of social issues and politics.
A Hard Act to Follow: A Daughter’s Cinematic Reckoning with Her Father By Lynne Sachs With editing advice by Alexandra Hidalgo July 8, 2022
I’ve been making experimental documentary films
since the late 1980s, beginning with Sermons and Sacred Pictures (1989)
all the way through to Film About a Father Who (2020)—a total of 37 films, ranging in time from 90 seconds to
83 minutes. Over the years, I have made non-fiction and hybrid works that
continue to shift my point of view from shooting from the outside in, to
shooting from the inside out. That is to say, I make a few films that allow me
to “open the window” on a person, group of people or place that I know little
about in order to develop a deeper understanding or answer a gnawing question
through my filmmaking. Then, I turn the camera back on myself and my immediate
surroundings to produce more personal, introspective films. This back and forth
positioning is a critical pivot that is fundamental to my own commitment to
working with reality. I can only ask the people who allow me to witness all the
vulnerable manifestations of their lives to enter my filmic cosmos if I too
have gone to a similarly exposed place myself.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Lynne Sachs learning to swim, 1965. Photo by Ira Sachs.
a Father Who is
my cinematic reckoning with my father Ira Sachs, a bohemian entrepreneur living
in the mountains of Utah. In making this film, I forced myself to follow this
sometimes daunting edict. Together shooting my images and writing my narration
made me come to terms with what I had always concealed and what I needed to
reveal. In order to bring the film to life for you, my readers, I have added
what I uttered in the film’s narration whenever it blends in a generative
fashion with what I’m discussing.
Every Thursday was Bob Dylan day. Dad didn’t care about
the lyrics or the harmony, only the melody. He was a hippy businessman, buying
land so steep you couldn’t build, bottling mineral water he couldn’t put on the
shelves, using other people’s money to develop hotels named for flowers. He worked from a shoe box, and as little as
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Lynne Sachs with her father, sister Dana and brother Ira, Jr. in Memphis, 1965.Photo by Diane Sachs.
Born in 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee, my father has
always chosen the alternative path in life, a path that has brought
unpredictable adventures, multiple children with multiple women, brushes with
the police and a life-long interest in trying to do some good in the world.
He did not define himself by his work, but rather what he
did the rest of the time, like drifting down a mountain or devouring the news
and doing what you do to make children, who happen to become adults.
To own a mountain from which there is nothing you can do
but come down, nowhere to build. What happens when you own a horizon?
Shooting from the Inside Out
My film takes a look at the complex dynamics that
conspire to create a family. There is
nothing really nuclear about all of us, we are a solar system composed of nine
planets revolving around a single sun, a sun that nourishes, a sun that burns,
a sun that each of us knows is good and bad for us. We accept and celebrate,
somehow, the consequences. In 1991, when I was thirty years old, I
decided that the best way for me to come to terms with my relationship with my
father would be to witness his life, to record my interactions with him and his
interactions with the rest of my family and perhaps the world.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Ira Sachs with daughters Lynne and Annabelle Sachs in San Francisco, 1991.
I’ve never quite known where the “inside’ is with
my father. Over the decades, I’ve
organized many recorded interviews—a time, a place, and a structure so that he
would feel it was the right moment to tell me where he lives when he is alone—driving
in his car, looking out from his living-room window at the Wasatch range, listening
to the quiet of an evening snowstorm. My
father speaks more intimately of the trees and the steep slopes that reach up
around him than he does of his closest human companions. He swears to me that he does not dream, so in
“real life” he conjured his own fantastical situations.
Dad had twin Cadillac convertibles. He didn’t want his mother to know he was so
extravagant, so he painted them both red. He could pull up in either one and
she would never know the difference. For
a long time, neither did I.
The first time I saw both cars parked
together, I was shocked that he had two. It was his secret, but now I was also
had his own language and we were expected to speak it. I loved him so much that
I agreed to his syntax, his set of rules.
Rather than admit his propensity for buying one
new toy after another, my father did whatever he felt like doing and assumed we,
his children, would be there to support him.
We were good kids, so we participated knowingly in all the shenanigans
that made his world spin the way he wanted it to spin.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Ira Sachs in Oakland, California, 1991. Photo by Lynne Sachs.
Never in all the years of making this film did my
father find an ease with speaking about or even acknowledging his convulsive, peripatetic
childhood. That past is a country he
left behind. For most of my adult life, I’ve been familiar with the obvious
facts and people—his mother, high school, jobs, children—but I honestly could
not figure out how these scattered events came together to become my
father. The mature, rational “me”
whispered: “You don’t have the right or the need to put all of the pieces
together. Let him stand on the present.
The details of his past are not critical to your life.” Each and every time
that I flew from my home in Brooklyn, New York to his home in Park City, Utah,
or that he visited me, I filmed. As a
result, I had hours and hours of material on 8mm and 16mm film, video, and
digital that I needed to climb my way through.
How the Camera Witnesses our
Still, I was
scared to do this. What would I find? How
could I crack his, and thus our, finely constructed amnesia? Watching our old
movies during the editing process, I sometimes missed the people we were, or
caught a glimpse of a man I pretended to know, but somehow didn’t. There is something so apt about the
expression “Hindsight is 20/20.” The more I forged my way forward in time, the
more I learned about my father’s compartmentalized life, Slowly, I began to
realize that what I needed to articulate were the fissures, the images that I
would never be able to capture because he was performing a complicated life on
so many stages at once, and I was only privy to a few of them.
my “subject” was growing older, his skin taking on new wrinkles and folds, much
of the technology I was using to record our lives would change completely every
few years. Over the course of my three-decade “production”
period, I shot 16 mm film, using the same Bolex camera I purchased in 1987 for
$400. But, I also relied upon an evolving array of video tape and digital
formats. Indeed, Film about a Father Who includes an archeological palimpsest of 20th and 21st
Century technologies, including: VHS camcorders; Nagra 1⁄4” audio tape records;
HI-8; mini-DV; Digital Single Lens Reflex and Osmo cameras; Zoom digital
recorders; and, cell phones.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Lynne Sachs on road trip across the country, 1989. Photo by Lynne Sachs.
My camera witnessed. My microphone recorded. No
matter which apparatus I held, I always knew that nothing was really what it
When I was 24, I took a trip with Dad
and my sister Dana to Bali, where he had invested in a small hotel. This was
supposed to be the first time when would have his complete attention. One
afternoon, Dad took us on a drive. Like so many times during our childhood, we
had no idea where we were going or why. We arrived at the airport and from the
car window we saw a very young woman, a girl, walk out of the terminal. We were so hurt, so infuriated that we
immediately got on a bus and went to the other side of the island, only
returning in time for our flight home. As it turned out, she was not just
another weekend date whose name we would never even learn. This was Diana [my
father’s very young girlfriend who eventually became his second wife]. It took
me six years to seek out her perspective.
Making this film forced me to come to terms
with those images that gave me aesthetic pleasure and those images that I called
“ugly” but somehow conveyed a new level of meaning. At the beginning of my logging process, I
dismissed much of the of the older tapes, particularly the ones that my father
had shot on his consumer grade VHS camera. They were too sloppy or degraded by
time and the elements, be they hot or cold. Later, with my editor Rebecca Shapass
at my side, we revisited this material and realized that these off-the-cuff images
offered us a critical opportunity to see the world through my father’s
eyes. If Dad was not going to reveal his
understanding of the world via a more typical documentary-style interview, I
would have to rely on this material to understand his point of view. With the Bali footage, for example, you can
hear slivers of conversation between my dad and me shot at night as he happened
to be staring up at the moon. When you
listen carefully to our words, you pick up the aural texture of our
relationship in a way that more image-centered material would not reveal. This discovery actually pushed me to go back
to all of my outtakes, to scavenge amongst the disregarded NG (no-good) bins in
search of the unfiltered sounds from my past. I could hear raw kindnesses,
assertive admonitions, and subtle avoidance that were, in a sense, more natural
and certainly more haunting.
I was born in the 1960s as were my sister Dana
and my brother Ira. By the time I was 10 years old, my parents were divorced.
In 1985, my father began what I’ll call a series of other family scenarios,
with a new wife, and lots of girlfriends—both simultaneously and consecutively.
There was no point in trying to keep count and initially I had no documentation
of these other lives my father was leading. By 1995, I had four new siblings; and by 2015,
we became aware that there were two more secret sisters. I was already in the
thick of making Film About a Father Who (I even had the title), but I
had to find a way to shape my narrative to allow for all of these new,
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Ira Sachs, Sr. with girl friends in Park City, Utah, 2005. Photo by Ira Sachs, Jr.
Pushing Myself to See Beyond the Surface
I decided to seek out each of my siblings (beginning with my sister
Dana born in 1962 and ending with my youngest sister Madison, born in 1995) and
three of six of their mothers (including my own), knowing that the only way I
could construct a group portrait of our father would be to include my five
sisters and three brothers. From the beginning, I was inspired by German author
Heinrich Boll’s 1971 polyvocal novel Group
Portrait with Lady, in which a narrator interviews 60 people in order to
better understand one woman. With a nod to Picasso’s Cubist renderings of a face, my
exploration of my father embraced 12 simultaneous, sometimes contradictory,
views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of
the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets. I hoped that my film could
ultimately see beyond the surface, beyond the persona our father had
constructed, his projected reality.
In the fall of 2017, I hired two professional
camera people and a sound recordist to join me on the day before Thanksgiving
at my brother Ira’s apartment in New York City for the first-ever gathering of
all my siblings. While everything else in the film had been shot by someone in
the family, I hoped that this formal “set up” would produce an anchor for the
narrative, an opportunity for all of us to get to know each other better and to
reveal our feelings about our father and his evolving family. We shot for four hours,
and the experience was, for the most part, cathartic. But, as I looked through
the footage with my editor, I noticed that everyone was extremely aware of how
I, in particular, responded to their words. Even a quiet sigh or a subtle
raising of an eyebrow seemed to indicate to them what I was thinking. This, I
believe, is a common scenario in documentary filmmaking, one that mirrors the
dramatic paradigm in which actors look to directors for an affirmation that
they have done a good job. It took me a year to accept that this singular, more
contrived, scene was significant in terms of who was there in the same room,
but did not take the film to the place I needed it to go.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Lynne Sachs in conversation with newly discovered sister Julia Sachs, 2018. Photo by Rebecca Shapass.
And so, throughout the following year, I either
flew my siblings to Brooklyn or went to meet them where they lived. In almost
every case, I convinced my sisters and brothers to go into a completely
darkened space with me. We often sat in closets. It was weird and very
intimate. As I recorded their voices, resonating through my headphones, I knew
I was listening to them in a deeper way than I had ever done before. There in
the dark, they each accessed something new about our father that they had never
We’re pretty candid about who Dad is
and we’ve seen him through a lot, but we’re also able to shift what we might
recognize as who he really is to what we want him to be.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Ira Sachs, 2018. Photo by Rebecca Shapass.
life was clearly going to be a “hard act to follow.” Yes, I had felt empowered to shoot with him
for this protracted period of time, but every time I sat down to look at my
footage something would get in my way. I
would tell myself that all the material was so poorly shot there just wasn’t
enough to make a movie. Or I was too
busy teaching, or taking care of my children, or anything else that came to my
mind. Ultimately, what I think stopped
me each time was fear of the story I wanted to tell. Finally, I as a daughter
and a filmmaker, I realized that I needed to work with a person who could help
me muddle through half a century of material. Never in my entire career as a
filmmaker have I hired a professional editor to work with me on a film. Instead, I either cut my movie myself or
invite former students (or students of former students) to join me on this
post-production phase of a project. In 2017,
I invited Rebecca Shapass, a marvelous undergraduate student from a class on
avant-garde film, to work with me as my studio assistant. At the time, Rebecca was 22 years old,
exactly the same age as I had been when I started shooting my “Dad Film” (as my
family referred to it). Within just a
few months, I realized Rebecca was the perfect person to collaborate on my
project. Her profound empathy, her
patience, and her sophisticated aesthetic sensibility made for the perfect
combination of qualities I needed in an editor who could help me log,
transcribe and shape all of my material.
Still, one of the biggest and most intimidating
aspects of making this film would be finding a way to translate my own interior
they loving, rage-filled, compassionate or simply contradictory—about
our father into a convincing, not too self-conscious, voiceover narration.
As we moved from being girls to women,
my sister and I shared a rage we never knew how to name.
From the very beginning, I knew that Film
About a Father Who would be an essay film that would include my own
writing. One of the reasons the film took so long to make was that every time I
sat down to put a pen to paper, I became intimidated by the process. I felt
embarrassed by my anger, apologetic about my embarrassment, and frustrated by
my awkward inability to accept the whole range of emotions I wanted to express.
I also had no idea how to shape my newly discovered periods of bliss and
confidence that I had found with my father, especially since I had given birth
to my own daughters and was more insightful about the challenges of being a
In January 2019, I had a three-week artist
residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. In my application, I
explained that I had been working on one personal essay film, dare I say it,
for most of my life, but that I needed a quiet, somewhat isolated place to
write down my thoughts. I guess Yaddo thought it was a worthy endeavor, as they
invited me to join about 12 other artists during that time. Lucky for me, I
suppose, this was a particularly icy period in Upstate New York; taking long
walks in the woods, as I had expected to do each day, was so risky that it was
prohibited. I had no excuse but to write. For the first few days of the
residency, I diligently placed my notebook on my empty desk, opened it to the
first available page, pulled out my lovely fountain pen (which I hoped would
inspire eloquence) and eventually wrote down a few words. Next, I read the
words—usually around 20 at most—over and over again. Then, I would scratch them
out and start again. At least, I thought to myself, I am not using a computer
where the delete button beckons, seduces, and devours. There were still traces of
dwindling assertions and quotidian doubts.
After a few days of anguished horror vacui, I realized that this
conventional, familiar way of writing was never going to work, at least for
this film. As if like a flash of light, or a jolt of electricity, it dawned on
me that I had other tools available that might help me to generate the words
for which I was so desperately looking. At around 4:30 p.m., just as my
dwelling in the woods was starting to get dark, I unpacked my Zoom audio
recorder, put on my headphones, closed all the doors to remind myself that I
had absolute privacy, plopped myself on my bed with a bunch of pillows, and
began to speak into the microphone. At first, it felt awkward and humiliating,
so there in the dark I decided to make myself feel even more alone. I closed my
eyes and let go. I am a person who is, more often than not, consistently
self-aware and polite. I say what I mean, but I sometimes cover up how I really
feel with an acute attention to grammar and kindness. Now, in this funky
isolation, this makeshift recording studio, this anything-goes-at-last
sensation of solitude, I let loose and the words poured out. Over a period of
10 days, I recorded hours of material—oral histories, in a sense—that were
generated by me as daughter, artist, and director. To my surprise, I was
actually able to apply the newly discovered “in the dark” approach to recording
with my siblings to the way that I listened to my own thoughts.
When I began
transcribing the words I had spoken, I found the task both painful and laborious.
Speaking these candid words pushed me to my limit,
into another zone of introspection. Then it occurred to me that in this
high-tech, service-oriented world in which we all live, I could solve this
problem quite easily. I sent my audio files to a transcription service and
within 36 hours a typed document file of an inchoate narration arrived in my
email inbox. I spent the second half of my residency reading and editing my own
words, almost as if they had been created by someone else. There, before me,
almost magically, but then again not, was the skeleton for my film, the
I actually believe that my enthusiasm for
recording in the dark is an outgrowth of the current image-crazy culture in
which we live. Each of us, in our own way, attempts to cultivate and control
the various forms of media that feign to mirror who we are. By turning out the
lights, we can begin to go beyond and below the epidermal, eventually
connecting with and releasing our inner thoughts.
Unlike the rest of the world, one of the
qualities that most intrigues me about my father is his total disregard for how
he looks on camera. Throughout our
shooting together over many years, he never thought one way or another about
what he was wearing, whether or not his hair was brushed, or who was in the
frame with him. At first this aspect of
his personality convinced me that he was going to be an easy subject of
documentary study. Only later did I
realize that in order to “get into his head” I needed to see the world from his
point of view.
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Ira Sachs photographing family in Park City, 1991. Photo by Lynne Sachs
Seeing the World Through My
In the late ‘80’s and ‘90s, Dad carried a video
camera around with him all of the time. After about a year editing together in
my studio, Rebecca and I realized that we needed to take a closer look at these
images to get into my dad’s head in a deeper way. With this frame of reference in mind, we
found two pivotal images that ultimately became key visual metaphors for the
entire film. The first image, which
appears very early in the film and then continues later in two other places, is
of three of my younger siblings playing in a stream bed on the side of a
mountain property my father had recently purchased. It appears that the shot
was produced with a tripod, as it is perfectly steady for the entire seven
minutes. For me, it is sublime. I do not
exaggerate. No doubt accidently, my
father photographed what art historians would call the golden triangle of
classical painting. As my two
half-brothers and one half-sister play and pretend to carefully move a garden
hose across some rocks, I can hear my father speaking to them with affection
and cautious scolding. Even at a distance
of about twenty feet, you can feel the parental intimacy, the children’s
simultaneous desire to please and do exactly what they want. As if worn and tattered by the thirty years
this tape spent on a shelf in my father’s garage, the footage has been reduced
to three pastel colors. Now a mother
myself, I can see how this image captures all of the love a parent can express
for their children, here it is contained by the film frame and the raw aura of the
Still from” Film About a Father Who”. Quarry explosion outside Park City, Utah, circa 1990. Photo by Ira Sachs, Sr.
In one other
initially disregarded image, I found the essence of my father’s relationship to
the natural landscape he both loves and yearns to control, even, dare I say it,
exploit. This is short shot during which you watch the top of a mountain above a
limestone quarry in the moments just before explosives are used to blow up the
ground. You can hear my father in all of
his excitement counting down the seconds before the highly anticipated
event. In the same voice that another
person might prepare for the lighting of candles on a child’s birthday cake, my
father gathers his gaggle together to watch the transformation of a mountain
side into sellable commodity. For me,
the duality of the visual moment encapsulates so much of what makes my father
the adventurous appreciator of all things natural and the clever business man
who was always looking for something that might generate some cash.
To explain every ambiguous situation
would be to dissolve the cadence of our rhythms. No balance, no scale, no grid,
no convention, no standard aspect ratio, no birthplace, no years, no
milestones. This is not a portrait. This is not a self-portrait. This is my
reckoning with the conundrum of our asymmetry. A story both protracted and
compressed. A story I share with my sisters and brothers, all nine of us. My father’s story…. Or at least part it.
Through an accumulation of facts coming
together over time, I discovered more about my father than I had ever hoped to
reveal. From this perspective, Film About a Father Who captures my
naïveté transformed into awareness, my rage transformed into forgiveness. But,
there is also another vantage point I can now better understand. As the mother
of two adult daughters, I can see the way that my actions have left an imprint
on their psyches, their sense of self and self-worth. I am steadfast in my own commitment to
engaging with them in full transparency, admitting my mistakes, and taking them
along for the long ride ahead. It may not have been by his example, but I did
learn through my relationship with my father how important it is for a child to
be brought into their parents’ lives as fully as possible.
This month’s nonfiction picks include a reflection on a father, a immersive dive into the fishing industry and an alternative approach to the rock band biopic doc.
The proliferation of documentaries on streaming services makes it difficult to choose what to watch. Each month, we’ll choose three nonfiction films — classics, overlooked recent docs and more — that will reward your time.
In “Film About
a Father Who,” the director Lynne Sachs sorts through her feelings about her
elusive, problematic dad, Ira Sachs Sr. The movie, which mixes film and video
formats, brings together footage that Lynne shot over more than 30 years along
with other material from her filmmaker brother, Ira Sachs Jr. (“Love
Is Strange”), and Ira Sr. himself.
Right from the
start, Ira Sr. sounds like a bit of a flake. Lynne, explaining what her dad did
for a living, calls him “a hippie businessman, buying land so steep you
couldn’t build, bottling mineral water he couldn’t put on the shelves, using
other people’s money to develop hotels named for flowers.” He also seems to
have been a serial compartmentalizer. That trait may have been harmless enough
when it came to extravagances (he owned twin Cadillac convertibles and kept one
secret), but it caused a great deal of drama for his family. Lynne interviews
some of the women Ira Sr. had been involved with and the many children he
fathered, including two grown half sisters Lynne didn’t know about until 2016.
Did she have suspicions, you might ask? Lynne suggests that Ira Sr.’s
secret-keeping led her and her siblings to adopt a stance of what she calls
“complicit ignorance.” And Ira Sr.’s mother, called Maw-Maw by Lynne, only
complicated matters when she was alive, because, Lynne says, she “could not
take the constant flow of people that she was supposed to, quote, ‘love,’ in
the way that we’re taught to love family.”
Ira Sr. nevertheless comes across as a genial lug — maybe fun at parties, but
surely a handful to have as a father or a partner. “Film About a Father Who,”
whose title was inspired by Yvonne Rainer’s “Film About a Woman Who,” is a
consideration of how one man’s easygoing attitude yielded anything but an easy
family dynamic as it rippled across generations. The movie runs only 74
minutes, but it contains lifetimes.
documentaries aim to impose order on the world. “Leviathan,” by contrast,
revels in abstraction and disorientation, as Dennis
Lim noted in 2012 when profiling the filmmakers for The New York
Times. The co-directors Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab,
a group that merges the academic discipline of ethnography with the artistic
possibilities of filmmaking, shot it during six trips aboard a Massachusetts
fishing trawler. But it’s hardly an exposé or elucidation of the fishing
industry. It opens with a quote from the Book of Job and unleashes a furious
torrent of images in which it’s often difficult to know which way is up or even
whether it’s day or night.
As the title
implies, the human presence is something of a secondary concern next to the
monstrous churn of the sea or the clanking, threatening chains of the boat’s
equipment. The waterlogged, slicker-wearing fishermen aren’t identified until
the closing credits; their voices are often barely possible to understand (the
distortions of their words suggest Charlie Brown’s teacher fed through some
sort of metallic feedback), and their routines are never explained.
the filmmakers noted that they sought to surrender some of their agency to the
elements. Waterproof cameras get dragged underwater like a fishing net or
pulled above the surface to skip along with some hovering seabirds. They slosh
around on the floor with the day’s catch, as much a part of the detritus as the
ginger-ale can that rattles around in a pile of shells. Shooting at
ultra-close-range from boot height or at odd angles, Paravel and
Castaing-Taylor offer perspectives on the way the boat looks and sounds that
seem untethered from where our eyes would naturally dart for meaning. It’s so
vivid that at times, you swear you can smell the ship as well.
doesn’t exactly reinvent the rock-band-biopic documentary in “The Velvet Underground,”
but there are times when he seems pretty close to it. The title is in some ways
a misnomer: The focus isn’t so much on the band as the Warholian cultural
ferment of the 1960s that the group grew out of. (It’s more underground and
less, uh, velvet.) Dedicated to the memory of Jonas
Mekas, who appears, and featuring excerpts from films by him and
film-artist contemporaries like Bruce Conner, Stan Brakhage and many others,
Haynes’s movie is as interested in picture, sound and sensation as it is in
The copious use
of split screen evokes Warhol’s “Chelsea Girls,” a work that places imagery
from two projectors side by side while the soundtrack alternates between the
film strips, allowing viewers to draw connections. In a similar spirit, Haynes
is devoted to capturing the cultural crosscurrents that shaped the band and its
John Cale, one
of the band’s founders, speaks of the influence of experimental musicians like
John Cage and La Monte Young on the music he was making. Later, offering a
fan’s perspective, the musician Jonathan Richman talks about hearing “overtones
that you couldn’t account for” while seeing the Velvet Underground play. The
film critic Amy Taubin draws a link between Warhol’s silent films — meant to be
played at the slower-than-standard speed of 16 frames per second — and the
avant-garde music scene: “It was all about extended time.”
doesn’t avoid standard biographical details. There are tales of Lou Reed’s
prickliness and a long section about what happened to the band after its
game-changing (if famously not best-selling) first album. But you don’t have to
be interested in the music, or music at all, to appreciate “The Velvet
Underground” as a movie.
Among those who
will henceforth be able to vote for the Oscar nominations and winners if they
accept, as the vast majority of people who have received invites historically
have: newly-minted Oscar winners Billie Eilish and Finneas
O’Connell (music branch) and Ariana DeBose and Troy
Kotsur (actors); Paramount chief Brian Robbins and
Disney general entertainment chief Dana Walden (executives);
and film critic Leonard Maltin (members-at-large).
According to an
Academy-provided breakdown of the new invitees, 44 percent are women, 37
percent are non-white and 50 percent are non-Americans (54 different countries
are represented). If they all accept, the Academy’s overall membership will be
34 percent female, 19 percent non-white and 23 percent non-American.
invited more women than men (actors, casting directors, costume designers,
documentary, makeup artists/hairstylists, marketing/public relations and
producers); three branches invited more non-whites than whites (actors,
directors and documentary); and nine branches invited more non-Americans than
Americans (actors, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers,
directors, makeup artists/hairstylists, producers, short films/feature
animation and visual effects).
list of invites is two
longer than last year’s, which was, by far, the smallest since the
#OscarsSoWhite uproar prompted a massive expansion of the organization. The
most invites came from the short films/feature animation branch (41), followed
by the documentary branch (38) and the actors branch (30).
names invited to join the Academy this year include 2021 standout actors Caitriona
Balfe and Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Jessie
Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Gaby Hoffmann (C’mon
C’mon), Robin de Jesus (Tick, Tick … Boom!), Vincent
Lindon (Titane), Jesse Plemons and Kodi
Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Last
Night in Soho); director Reinaldo Marcus Green (King
Richard); documentarians Traci A. Curry (Attica)
and Ben Proudfoot (The Queen of Basketball);
producers Tim White and Trevor White (King
Richard); and writers Zach Baylin (King Richard) and Jeremy
O Harris (Zola),
entertainment industry figures who received invitations not tied to a specific
recent projects include Sheryl Lee Ralph (actors); Amy
Seimetz (directors); Scott Foundas (executives); Craig
Mazin, Alex Ross Perry and Katie Silberman (writers);
and George Drakoulias (members-at-large).
invited to join the marketing and public relations branch were DDA chief Dana
Archer, Amazon awards chief Debra
Birnbaum, international features specialist Tatiana Detlofson,
personal reps Sheri Goldberg and Jessica Kolstad, Magnolia
Pictures publicity chief George Nicholis, Apple TV+ awards
chief Gina Pence (who was central to CODA‘s
winning Oscar campaign), Focus Features’ executive vp publicity Stephanie
Phillips, Shelter PR evp awards and events Jerry Rojas and
Netflix’s US publicity chief Michelle Slavich.
were invited to join multiple branches and will have to select one,
including: Drive My Car‘s Ryusuke Hamaguchi (directors/writers), CODA‘s Sian
Heder (directors/writers) and Flee‘s Jonas Poher
A full list of
those invited to join the Academy follows.
Funke Akindele – “Omo Ghetto: The Saga,” “Jenifa”
Caitríona Balfe – “Belfast,” “Ford v Ferrari”
Reed Birney – “Mass,” “Changeling”
Jessie Buckley – “The Lost Daughter,” “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Lori Tan Chinn – “Turning Red,” “Glengarry Glen Ross”
Daniel K. Daniel – “The Fugitive,” “A Soldier’s Story”
Ariana DeBose – “West Side Story,” “The Prom”
Robin de Jesús – “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “The Boys in the Band”
Jamie Dornan – “Belfast,” “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar”
Michael Greyeyes – “Wild Indian,” “Woman Walks Ahead”
Gaby Hoffmann – “C’mon C’mon,” “Wild”
Amir Jadidi – “A Hero,” “Cold Sweat”
Kajol – “My Name Is Khan,” “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…”
Troy Kotsur – “CODA,” “The Number 23”
Vincent Lindon – “Titane,” “The Measure of a Man”
BarBara Luna – “The Concrete Jungle,” “Five Weeks in a Balloon”
Aïssa Maïga – “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” “Mood Indigo”
Selton Mello – “My Hindu Friend,” “Trash”
Olga Merediz – “In the Heights,” “Adrift”
Sandra Kwan Yue Ng – “Echoes of the Rainbow,” “Portland Street Blues”
Hidetoshi Nishijima – “Drive My Car,” “Cut”
Rena Owen – “The Last Witch Hunter,” “The Dead Lands”
Jesse Plemons – “The Power of the Dog,” “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Sheryl Lee Ralph – “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” “The Distinguished
Renate Reinsve – “The Worst Person in the World,” “Welcome to Norway”
Marco Rodriguez – “El Chicano,” “Unspeakable”
Joanna Scanlan – “After Love,” “Notes on a Scandal”
Kodi Smit-McPhee – “The Power of the Dog,” “Let Me In”
Suriya – “Jai Bhim,” “Soorarai Pottru”
Anya Taylor-Joy – “The Northman,” “Last Night in Soho”
Casting Directors Rich Delia – “King Richard,” “The Disaster Artist” Elodie Demey – “Happening,” “Summer of 85” Yngvill Kolset Haga – “The Worst Person in the World,” “One Night in Oslo” Louise Kiely – “The Green Knight,” “Sing Street” Meagan Lewis – “Blast Beat,” “Free State of Jones” Karen Lindsay-Stewart – “Marie Antoinette,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” Juliette Ménager – “A Bag of Marbles,” “As Above/So Below” Kate Ringsell – “The Lost City of Z,” “Justice League” Toby Whale – “Dunkirk,” “The History Boys”
Ava Berkofsky – “The Sky Is Everywhere,” “Free in Deed”
Josh Bleibtreu – “Dark Phoenix,” “Shazam!”
Alice Brooks – “In the Heights,” “tick, tick…BOOM!”
Daria D’Antonio – “The Hand of God,” “Ricordi?”
Mike Eley – “The Duke,” “Woman Walks Ahead”
Sturla Brandth Grøvlen – “The Innocents,” “Another Round”
Ruben Impens – “Titane,” “Beautiful Boy”
Shabier Kirchner – “Small Axe,” “Bull”
Martin Ruhe – “The Tender Bar,” “The Midnight Sky”
Kasper Tuxen – “The Worst Person in the World,” “Riders of Justice”
Costume Designers Joan Bergin – “The Prestige,” “In the Name of the Father” Antonella Cannarozzi – “A Five Star Life,” “I Am Love” Andrea Flesch – “Midsommar,” “Colette” Lizzy Gardiner – “Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” Dorothée Guiraud – “Murder Party,” “French Tech” Suzie Harman – “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” “Extinction” Tatiana Hernández – “The Japon,” “Lope” Louise Stjernsward – “Made in Italy,” “The Mercy” Elisabeth Tavernier – “The Man in the Basement,” “Tanguy Is Back” Paul Tazewell – “West Side Story,” “Harriet” Mitchell Travers – “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Hustlers”
Directors Newton Aduaka – “One Man’s Show,” “Ezra” Andrew Ahn – “Fire Island,” “Spa Night” Bruno Villela Barreto – “Four Days in September,” “The Kiss” Mariano Barroso – “Ants in the Mouth,” “Ecstasy” Rolf de Heer – “Charlie’s Country,” “Bad Boy Bubby” Jeferson Rodrigues de Rezende – “The Malê Revolt,” “Bróder!” Pawo Choyning Dorji* – “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” Blessing Egbe – “African Messiah,” “Iquo’s Journal” Briar Grace-Smith – “Cousins ,” “Waru” Reinaldo Marcus Green – “King Richard,” “Monsters and Men” Ryusuke Hamaguchi* – “Drive My Car,” “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” Sian Harries Heder* – “CODA,” “Tallulah” Gil Kenan – “City of Ember,” “Monster House” Amanda Kernell – “Charter,” “Sami Blood” Mary Lambert – “The In Crowd,” “Pet Sematary II” Blackhorse Lowe – “Chasing the Light,” “5th World” Nalin Pan – “Last Film Show,” “Samsara” Jonas Poher Rasmussen* – “Flee,” “Searching for Bill” Isabel Sandoval – “Lingua Franca,” “Apparition” Amy Seimetz – “She Dies Tomorrow,” “Sun Don’t Shine” Rachel Talalay – “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting,” “Tank Girl”
Documentary Julie Anderson – “God Is the Bigger Elvis,” “Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World” Susan Bedusa – “Procession,” “Bisbee ’17” Opal H. Bennett – “A Broken House,” “Águilas” Shane Boris – “Stray,” “The Edge of Democracy” Joe Cephus Brewster – “American Promise,” “Slaying Goliath” Ellen Bruno – “Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy,” “Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia” Traci A. Curry – “Attica,” “Boss: The Black Experience in Business” Jason DaSilva – “When We Walk,” “When I Walk” Emílio Domingos – “Favela Is Fashion,” “L.A.P.A.” Sushmit Ghosh – “Writing with Fire,” “Timbaktu” Lyn Goldfarb – “Eddy’s World,” “With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade” Susanne Guggenberger – “Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes,” “The Beekeeper and His Son” Cristina Ibarra – “The Infiltrators,” “Las Marthas” Oren Jacoby – “On Broadway,” “Sister Rose’s Passion” Isaac Julien – “Derek,” “Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask” Deborah Kaufman – “Company Town,” “Blacks and Jews” Firouzeh Khosrovani – “Radiograph of a Family,” “Fest of Duty” Jessica Kingdon – “Ascension,” “Commodity City” Mehret Mandefro – “How It Feels to Be Free ,” “Little White Lie” Mary Manhardt – “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” “Racing Dreams” Amanda McBaine – “Boys State,” “The Overnighters” Peter Jay Miller – “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” Elizabeth Mirzaei – “Three Songs for Benazir,” “Laila at the Bridge” Gulistan Mirzaei – “Three Songs for Benazir,” “Laila at the Bridge” Bob Moore – “Dope Is Death,” “China Heavyweight” Omar Mullick – “Footprint,” “These Birds Walk” Mohammed Ali Naqvi – “Insha’Allah Democracy,” “Among the Believers” Sierra Pettengill – “Riotsville, USA,” “The Reagan Show” Ben Proudfoot – “The Queen of Basketball,” “A Concerto Is a Conversation” Jonas Poher Rasmussen* – “Flee,” “Searching for Bill” Gabriel Rhodes – “The First Wave,” “Time” Lynne Sachs – “Film about a Father Who,” “Investigation of a Flame” Brett Story – “The Hottest August,” “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes” Thorsten Thielow – “The First Wave,” “Mayor Pete” Rintu Thomas – “Writing with Fire,” “Dilli” Nathan Truesdell – “Ascension,” “Balloonfest” Jenni Wolfson – “Pray Away,” “One Child Nation” Jialing Zhang – “In the Same Breath,” “One Child Nation”
Executives Steve Asbell Carole Baraton Steven Bardwil Jeff Blackburn Liesl Copland Kareem Daniel Eva Diederix Scott Foundas Brenda Gilbert Joshua Barnett Grode Gene Yoonbum Kang Jenny Marchick Ori Joseph Marmur Anna Marsh Katherine Oliver Joel Pearlman Elizabeth Polk Louie Provost Amber Rasberry Brian Robbins Marc Schaberg Ron Schwartz Aditya Sood Frederick Tsui Dana Walden Clifford Werber
Film Editors Geraud Brisson – “CODA,” “Dark Hearts” Olivier Bugge Coutté – “The Worst Person in the World,” “Thelma” Shannon Baker Davis – “The Obituary of Tunde Johnson,” “The Photograph” Billy Fox – “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Hustle & Flow” Myron Kerstein – “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “Crazy Rich Asians” Jeremy Milton – “Encanto,” “Zootopia” Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – “Belfast,” “Stan & Ollie” Heike Parplies – “Invisible Life,” “Toni Erdmann” Joshua L. Pearson – “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” Peter Sciberras – “The Power of the Dog,” “The King” Aljernon Tunsil – “Attica,” “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” Azusa Yamazaki – “Drive My Car,” “Asako I & II”
Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Jacenda Burkett – “King Richard,” “Concussion” Nana Fischer – “Encounter,” “The Lost City of Z” Sean Flanigan – “The Many Saints of Newark,” “The Irishman” Massimo Gattabrusi – “Loving Pablo,” “Volver” Stephanie Ingram – “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “It” Anna Carin Lock – “House of Gucci,” “Borg/McEnroe” Heike Merker – “The Matrix Resurrections,” “Anonymous” Stacey Morris – “Coming 2 America,” “Dolemite Is My Name” Justin Raleigh – “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Army of the Dead” Kerrie Smith – “Motherless Brooklyn,” “John Wick” Nadia Stacey – “Cruella,” “The Favourite” Julia Vernon – “Cruella,” “Maleficent” Wakana Yoshihara – “Belfast,” “Spencer”
and Public Relations
Bethan Anna Dixon
Stephanie Sarah Northen
Jodie Magid Oriol
Stephanie Dee Phillips
Glen Erin Wyatt
Music Billie Eilish Baird O’Connell – “No Time to Die” Amie Doherty – “Spirit Untamed,” “The High Note” Lili Haydn – “Strip Down, Rise Up,” “Broken Kingdom” Leo Heiblum – “Maria Full of Grace,” “Frida” Natalie Holt – “Fever Dream,” “Journey’s End” Nathan Johnson – “Nightmare Alley,” “Knives Out” Jacobo Lieberman – “Maria Full of Grace,” “Frida” Ariel Rose Marx – “Shiva Baby,” “Rebel Hearts” Hesham Nazih – “The Guest,” “Born a King” Finneas O’Connell – “No Time to Die” Dan Romer – “Luca,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Nerida Tyson-Chew – “H Is for Happiness,” “Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”
Producers Mariela Besuievsky – “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” “The Secret in Their Eyes” Cale Boyter – “Dune,” “Pacific Rim Uprising” Chad Burris – “Collisions,” “Drunktown’s Finest” Damon D’Oliveira – “The Grizzlies,” “Love Come Down” Luc Déry – “Gabrielle,” “Monsieur Lazhar” Michael Downey – “Elvis Walks Home,” “Light Thereafter” Yaël Fogiel – “Memoir of War,” “Latest News of the Cosmos” Cristina Gallego – “Birds of Passage,” “Embrace of the Serpent” Laetitia Gonzales – “Plot 35,” “Tournée” Pauline Gygax – “With the Wind,” “My Life as a Zucchini” Margot Hand – “Passing,” “Brittany Runs a Marathon” Jojo Hui – “Better Days,” “Dearest” Eva Jakobsen – “Miss Viborg,” “Godless” Lucas Joaquin – “Mayday,” “Love Is Strange” Lizette Jonjic – “12 Dares,” “Guerrilla” Thanassis Karathanos – “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” “Tulpan” Kim McCraw – “Drunken Birds,” “Incendies” Sev Ohanian – “Run,” “Searching” Christina Piovesan – “The Nest,” “Amreeka” Natalie Qasabian – “Run,” “All about Nina” Philippe Rousselet – “CODA,” “Source Code” Sara Silveira – “Good Manners,” “Vazante” James Stark – “Prayers for the Stolen,” “Mystery Train” Riccardo Tozzi – “La Nostra Vita,” “Don’t Move” Shih-Ching Tsou – “Red Rocket,” “The Florida Project” Nadia Turincev – “The Insult,” The Boss’s Daughter” Tim White – “King Richard,” “Ingrid Goes West” Trevor White – “King Richard,” “LBJ” Teruhisa Yamamoto – “Drive My Car,” “Wife of a Spy” Olena Yershova – “Brighton 4th,” “Volcano”
François Audouy – “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Ford v Ferrari”
Laura Ballinger Gardner – “The Irishman,” “Joker”
Chris Baugh – “Steve Jobs,” “Argo”
Ellen Brill – “Being the Ricardos,” “Bombshell”
Joanna Bush – “La La Land,” “Life of Pi”
Christina Cecili – “Cyrano,” “A Quiet Place”
John Coven – “The Lion King,” “Logan”
Carol Flaisher – “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Miss Sloane”
Sandy Hamilton – “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “Joker”
Ellen Lampl – “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Jurassic World”
Enrico Latella – “Tenet,” “All the Money in the World”
Steven Lawrence – “Death on the Nile,” “Cinderella”
Melissa Levander – “The Tender Bar,” “The High Note”
Drew Petrotta – “The Suicide Squad,” “Captain Marvel”
Jean-Vincent Puzos – “Jungle Cruise,” “Amour”
Maya Shimoguchi – “Ford v Ferrari,” “Men in Black 3”
Short Films and Feature Animation Murad Abu Eisheh – “Tala’vision,” “Ta Hariri” Olivier Adam – “Sing 2,” “Minions” Michael Arias – “Harmony,” “Tekkonkinkreet” Evren Boisjoli – “Fauve,” “What Remains” Maria Brendle – “Ala Kachuu – Take and Run,” “The Stowaway” Sean Buckelew – “Drone,” “Hopkins & Delaney LLP” Olivier Calvert – “Bad Seeds,” “Animal Behaviour” Enrico Casarosa – “Luca,” “La Luna” Karla Castañeda – “La Noria (The Waterwheel),” “Jacinta” Hugo Covarrubias – “Bestia,” “The Night Upside Down” K.D. Dávila – “Please Hold,” “Emergency” Charlotte De La Gournerie – “Flee,” “Terra Incognita” Luc Desmarchelier – “The Bad Guys,” “Open Season” Anton Dyakov – “Boxballet,” “Vivat Musketeers!” Brian Falconer – “Saul & I,” “Boogaloo and Graham” Youssef Joe Haidar – “Scoob!,” “Animated American” Andy Harkness – “Vivo,” “Get a Horse!” Pierre Hébert – “Thunder River,” “Memories of War” Aneil Karia – “The Long Goodbye,” “Work” Brooke Keesling – “Meatclown,” “Boobie Girl” Nadine Lüchinger – “Ala Kachuu – Take and Run,” “Puppenspiel (Puppet Play)” Tadeusz Łysiak – “The Dress,” “Techno” Joe Mateo – “Blush,” “Big Hero 6” Sharon Maymon – “Skin,” “Summer Vacation” Kathleen McInnis – “Mama,” “Downturn” Yvett Merino – “Encanto,” “Wreck-It Ralph” Alberto Mielgo – “The Windshield Wiper,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider- Verse” Les Mills – “Affairs of the Art,” “The Canterbury Tales” Jetzabel Moreno Hernández – “The Followers,” “Plums and Green Smoke” Dan Ojari – “Robin Robin,” “Slow Derek” Brian Pimental – “Tarzan,” “A Goofy Movie” Mikey Please – “Robin Robin,” “The Eagleman Stag” Erin Ramos – “Encanto,” “Frozen II” Mike Rianda – “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” Doug Roland – “Feeling Through,” “A Better Way” Leo Sanchez – “The Windshield Wiper,” “Over the Moon” Marc J. Scott – “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” Sarah Smith – “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” “Arthur Christmas” Daniel Šuljić – “From Under Which Rock Did They Crawl Out,” “The Cake” Conrad Vernon – “The Addams Family,” “Shrek 2” Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland – “Abominable,” “The Emperor’s New Groove”
Sound Douglas Axtell – “True Grit,” “I Am Sam” Nerio Barberis – “Violeta al Fin,” “Find a Boyfriend for My Wife…Please!” Amanda Beggs – “The Forever Purge,” “Finding ’Ohana” Adrian Bell – “Mothering Sunday,” “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” Joshua Berger – “King Richard,” “The Lost City of Z” Paul (Salty) Brincat – “The Invisible Man,” “The Thin Red Line” Tom Yong-Jae Burns – “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Blade Runner 2049” Benjamin A. Burtt – “Dolittle,” “Black Panther” Simon Chase – “Belfast,” “Artemis Fowl” Brian Chumney – “West Side Story,” “The Croods: A New Age” Richard Flynn – “The Power of the Dog,” “Slow West” Albert Gasser – “Straight Outta Compton,” “Dances With Wolves” Lewis Goldstein – “In the Heights,” “Hereditary” Theo Green – “Dune,” “Blade Runner 2049” James Harrison – “No Time to Die,” “Captain Phillips” John Hayes – “The King’s Man,” “Tom and Jerry” Ruth Hernandez – “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” “Brooklyn’s Finest” Huang Zheng – “Better Days,” “Chongqing Hot Pot” Thomas Huhn – “The Wife,” “White God” David Husby – “Tomorrowland,” “Elf” Allison Jackson – “Don’t Think Twice,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Paul Ledford – “One Night in Miami,” “Logan” Leff Lefferts – “Vivo,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” Nancy MacLeod – “The Revenant,” “The Hunger Games” Charles Maynes – “After Earth,” “Letters from Iwo Jima” Alan Meyerson – “Dune,” “Inception” Casey Stone – “Frozen,” “Tsotsi” Edward Tise – “Into the Wild,” “Full Metal Jacket” Jana Vance – “Cast Away,” “Saving Private Ryan” Tara Webb – “The Power of the Dog,” “Mortal Kombat” Waldir Xavier – “From Afar,” “Central Station” Denise Yarde – “Belfast,” “Dumbo”
Visual Effects Ivy Agregan – “India Sweets and Spices,” “Wakefield” Geeta Basantani – “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Vivo” Aharon Bourland – “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Venom” Ivan Busquets – “Malignant,” “The Irishman” Joe Ceballos – “Skyscraper,” “Thor: Ragnarok” Richard Anthony Clegg – “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” “Blade Runner 2049” Mark Curtis – “Sully,” “Spectre” Markus Degen – “The King’s Man,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Jack Edjourian – “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Tenet” Eric Enderton – “Shark Tale,” “Jurassic Park” Marcos Fajardo Orellana – “Thor,” “Monster House” Joel Green – “No Time to Die,” “The Kid Who Would Be King” Earl Hibbert – “The Fate of the Furious,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” Hayley Hubbard – “The Old Guard,” “Dumbo” Maia Kayser – “Rango,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” Garrett Lam – “Limbo,” “Shock Wave 2” Jake Maymudes – “Dune,” “Terminator: Dark Fate” Catherine Ann Mullan – “Dumbo,” “Maleficent” Charlie Noble – “No Time to Die,” “Wonder Woman 1984” J. Alan Scott – “Finch,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” Tefft Smith – “Alice through the Looking Glass,” “Tomorrowland” Alan Travis – “Black Widow,” “The Irishman” Michael Van Eps – “Deepwater Horizon,” “Poseidon” Sean Noel Walker – “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Black Widow” Vernon Wilbert – “Stealth,” “I, Robot” Eric Jay Wong – “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Lucy” Kevin Wooley – “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Jurassic World” Wei Zheng – “Mank,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Zach Baylin – “King Richard”
Henry Bean – “The Believer,” “Deep Cover”
Pawo Choyning Dorji* – “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”
Michael Grais – “Cool World,” “Poltergeist”
Ted Griffin – “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ravenous”
Ryusuke Hamaguchi* – “Drive My Car,” “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy”
Jeremy O Harris – “Zola”
Sian Harries Heder* – “CODA,” “Tallulah”
Mike Jones – “Luca,” “Soul”
Reema Kagti – “Gully Boy,” “Gold”
Adele Lim – “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Crazy Rich Asians”
Craig Mazin – “Identity Thief,” “The Hangover Part II”
Margaret Nagle – “With/In,” “The Good Lie”
Takamasa Oe – “Drive My Car,” “Beautiful Method”
Alex Ross Perry – “Her Smell,” “Listen Up Philip”
Adam Rifkin – “Giuseppe Makes a Movie,” “Small Soldiers”
Jordan Roberts – “Big Hero 6,” “3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom”
Katie Silberman – “Booksmart,” “Isn’t It Romantic”
Randi Mayem Singer – “Tooth Fairy,” “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Jon Spaihts – “Dune,” “Doctor Strange”
Małgorzata Szumowska – “Never Gonna Snow Again,” “Elles”
Mark A. Victor – “Cool World,” “Poltergeist”
Valerie Flueger Veras
Anne Lajla Utsi
visiting CRFIC2022, the American director spoke with “La Nación” about what it
meant to film her family for 30 years, the contradictions of the term
“non-fiction,” and her fascination with Julio Cortázar.
Rather than the feeling of being inside a
dream, Lynne Sachs’ cinematographic work feels like sneaking into another
person’s memory; making yourself small and tiptoeing into a room where a
cassette is playing memories of days gone by, of a past times that only years
later consecrate themselves into golden postcards.
Her last film, Film about a Father Who, condenses the emotions of Sachs’ own
family, whom she filmed for close to 30 years. While the recording of this project
never ceased, she produced many other films during this period (her prolific
career includes more than 30 films). Among them, a sentimental piece titled Con el pelo en el viento (Wind in Our Hair),
in which she explores the transition to adulthood, inspired in Julio
Cortázar short stories.
“To me, everything is about exploring and
challenging reality,” says the filmmaker, smiling and charismatic, on the third
floor of the Centro de Cine in Costa Rica, while one of her films is being projected
below. On this premise, the Memphis-born director conversed with “La Nación”
about how these two films have marked her life.
are your thoughts about the films selected for your retrospective at CRFIC?
Honestly, I feel honored that my films are
alongside Memoria, Drive My Car…
films that make me feel like I’m on a film adventure. I feel grateful on so
many levels to the Costa Rican community for giving me this space. I think the
film selection speaks to my interest in looking at reality’s textures.
your latest film, Film about a Father
Who, what was your primary interest?
It took me 30 years to make this film, so even
if I could tell you what my first interest was when I started, it definitely
changed and evolved. Let me tell you that this film is a testimony to the
belief that certain projects should not be made in a hurry, they should be gestated
like a baby, but making a film is more difficult than gestating a baby
(laughs). I have two daughters (laughs) but with a film you have to decide when
it’s ready. Regarding this film, I wanted to do it because I was intrigued by
my father and I loved that, at that moment, he was such an iconoclast; a
classic rule breaking person, who always created his own cosmos, but at the
same time had to deal with a lot of changes in our lives at that time, and the
film could give me that perspective.
I wanted to explore what it was like to be his
daughter and always having that door open for him. I couldn’t finish the film
because I didn’t know how to put all those things together. I felt I was ready
to film his life but not to confront all the footage afterwards. I made a lot
of movies while shooting this one, but this film was always breathing down my
did you feel it was the moment to stop?
A couple years before I stopped filming, I
realized that I wasn’t making a film about a father and daughter; it’s a film
about a family that makes you ask what is the soul of a family. What connects a
family? Blood? What happens when suddenly someone who seems like a “stranger” to
that family arrives? How do you deal with that? So I needed to listen to the
rest of my siblings to know and decide when the appropriate moment would be.
And to not only understand my father but also my
siblings and their experiences. My brother is gay, and there is a scene in the
film where you can see how alienated he is feeling. The rest of my siblings
have had other lives that also give a lot to think about.
people that I know that have seen your film loved it. Where do you think
resides the emotional component that achieves that?
Oh, thank you so much. I am moved to hear you
say that because my family thought that I was doing this for myself and not for
them. They saw that I only talked
about the movie and how I did things in order to have more profound
conversations, and at the end of the day the film was a ticket to having these
moments that I think all families want to have. Even my
mom said: “Will anyone be interested in this movie?” (laughs) and well, I told
her that most of us think our families are abnormal, that they’re weird. That
we want to be like other families because sometimes we feel ashamed of our own.
But this is natural and the film allows us to feel vulnerable about everything
that being part of a family entails. There is a catharsis there.
end, how did you find the courage to confront all that footage?
It was very difficult. My initial fear was seeing
how old I had become (laughs), but I leaned on an ex-student of mine who worked
with me as an assistant. She helped me confront all that footage in the studio.
We wanted to open those boxes containing 30 year’s worth of material and decide
what to do with it, if we were going to digitize it or what other possibilities
there were. She gave me the courage to watch it all.
In one of the workshops I gave here in San
José, I told them how she helped me understand that I did not have to explain
my family tree, because the story is not about who is who but about emotions.
This helped so much: to determine that this is about emotions.
the most exciting thing about filming nonfiction?
For me, the term “nonfiction” is complicated
because I like to think about how we see the world beyond a label. Fiction and
nonfiction are terms that make the world seem binary, when it isn’t. I know I
don’t do fiction but I prefer to say I work with reality, that I confront
reality because I give myself the opportunity to play with the people that
appear in front of the camera. I like to explore the real world, but I don’t
try to explain it. For me, if a
film is successful, it is because the public questions things about the world
that they had not questioned before.
now see this from another perspective. In your film Con el pelo en el viento (Wind in Our Hair) you introduce yourself
to fiction. What brought you to make that film?
Oh, in that one reality is out of focus. In
2007 there was a retrospective in Argentina and I wanted to go back and make a
film there because I met so many talented people. I have two daughters and
wanted to find more girls to make this story about growing up. We knew we
wanted to reinterpret some of Julio Cortázar’s short stories, so we chose the
story El fin del juego (The end of the
game) which refers precisely
to that end of childhood and what comes after with your body, with your
sexuality and with your mind. I wanted to portray it,
thinking about my daughters and all the social changes that they might face. In
fact, I find it curious to watch this film now, because the girls in the film
are already 25 years old. It’s very sweet to see the passage of time like this.
The magnificent thing about making films is feeling connected to different
very powerful story. Since we are talking about this, what do you think about
Well, I love him (laughs). I love how perceptive
he is and playful with language. Of course, there is the tremendous experiment
that he did with Rayuela (Hopscotch), a
book that is very liberating and has definitely inspired my filmmaking. But I’m
even more fascinated by his short stories, even though they seem more
traditional. For this film, I tried to portray that sensitivity of seeing girls
confronting a period of their life and wanting to deal with it.
I love the short story Casa Tomada (House Taken Over), a two-page text. In fact, the first
part of the film was inspired by that story, with that almost Cold War fear of
feeling being watched. I am thinking that now it feels so current with the
Alexas that live in our homes and listen to everything we say. Cortázar,
without a doubt, was a visionary because the girls actually feel that the walls
are listening, a very contemporary feeling.
Costa Rican book could inspire your next film…
I would love to! I’ve been given an anthology
that I am very excited to start reading and I definitely would like to learn
more. I love to explore traditions that can inspire my work.
moment in your life, what is your main interest around making movies?
It has a lot to do with my next film, Every Contact Leaves a Trace (Cada contacto
deja un rastro). It is a feature film that is about expressing, using
forensics theory, how there is a footprint in everything we do, like criminals
who are chased using their traces. My film does not have anything to do with
crime but with how people whom we meet leave us with a perception for the rest
of our lives. Over many years, I’ve
collected thousands of contact cards. Most of their owners I never see again,
but they leave their fingerprints on those cards. It’s as if their trail
follows me forever.
It is an allegory for how I can reconnect and
reflect on what people leave to me after a lifetime. It is not the same as a
family relationship – their memories may stay with you for longer – but about
people you meet in stores, your first psychologist, a journalist, like you… It’s
a reflection that I’m very excited to explore.
Opening the Family Album is a three day (two hours each day) workshop in which we will explore the ways in which images of our mother, father, sister, brother, child, cousin, grand-parent, aunt or uncle might become material for the making of a personal film. Each participant will come to the workshop with a single photograph (both in hand and digital) they want to examine. During the workshop, you will write text in response to this image by incorporating storytelling and performance. In the process, we will discuss and challenge notions of truth-telling and language. Your final work will then be a completed film with sound or a film with live narration. Previous filmmaking and editing experience is appreciated but not required. Participants may use their own digital cameras or cell phones to make images and sounds. Please register early so that you can be part of our first meeting which will be virtual.
This workshop is inspired by the work of Italian novelist Natalia Ginzburg, whose writing explores family relationships during the Fascist years and World War II. Ginzburg was a prescient artist who enjoyed mixing up conventional distinctions between fiction and non-fiction: “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt compelled at once to destroy it. The places, events, and people are all real.”
All of the films made in this workshop will be presented publicly on our last day of meeting.
Director: Lynne Sachs, USA, 2020, 74 min., ENG + ENG subtitles
Minizoom Lynne Sachs, we are organizing two screenings, the first of which is
the feature documentary Film About A Father Who. For
35 years between1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs recorded on 8 and 16 mm
film, VHS cassettes and digital footage of her father Ira Sachs, Sr., a bon
vivant and businessman from Park City, Utah. Film About A Father Who is
her attempt to grasp the web that connects a child with her parent and a sister
with her siblings.
Lynne Sachs is an American filmmaker and poet who focuses on documentary and short experimental films, film essays and live performances. Her work often pushes on the boundaries of genre, relying on a feminist approach and an introspective form to explore the complex relationship between personal observation and universal historical experience. She is interested in the implicit connection between body, camera and the materiality of film. Lynne Sachs currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
About us A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture is an independent cultural centre focusing on contemporary forms of professional theatre, dance, music, film, visual art and new media. Established in 2004 as a result of a joint effort between several civic cultural organisations, it became one of the first cultural centres in Slovakia founded by a bottom-up initiative. Since its beginning, A4 has been a vivid and active location on the Central European cultural scene, an open field for creative experimentation as well as a home for fresh and unique experiences. Besides presenting innovative contemporary art, it actively supports the new creative activities and education. A4 engages in public debate on important social issues, and attempts to foster conditions for non-commercial cultural activities, culturing of public space, urban development, etc.
“Thought, Word, Image: Introduction to Lynne Sachs Retrospective” Costa Rica International Festival of Cinema, 2022 Written by Fernando Chaves Espiniche, Artistic Director Translated from Spanish by Maria C. Scharron
are films that seem small but on screen they expand until we are overwhelmed.
That is what happens with the images and words that Lynne Sachs pieces
together: her films seem fragile, transparent, but they hit us with the force
bestowed by the mind behind them.
the late 80s, this American artist has been building a group of work that
expands and blurs the limits of fiction, documentary and the experimental
expressions of cinema art. In more than 40 films, between feature films, short
films, performances, web projects and installations, Sachs has demonstrated to
be one of the most authentic voices of American experimental cinema. She
provokes, challenges, and proposes. Her
movies give the impression of simplicity, which the emotional and intellectual
weight betrays. Even when the films are straightforward, they raise deep
questions that make them expand beyond their short duration.
what does someone like Lynne Sachs have to say about the Costa Rican and
Central American context? Although her movies are intimate, Sachs’ films speak
about what we call universal themes: home, memory, time, family, and cinema as
a device to inquire into everything. It is her modest scale, (and we already
mentioned that this should not distract us from her incisive glance), which
lead us to think about other ways to approach cinema as producers, critics and
spectators. Something is burning in these images of Sachs’, something that
motivates us to imagine another way of narrating: the drive to film everything,
transforming it all with voice, editing, thought and rhythm.
In Films About a Father Who (2020), which
we had the pleasure to show in the 9th Cosa Rica International
Festival de Cine, the director dissects her father’s presence with deep empathy
and an objective eye. The debris of memory accumulates around a very complex
figure. This challenges our understanding of him, but without leaving affection
and tenderness behind. Personal history is made of small fragments recorded and
filmed throughout the years, an accumulation of interactions and moments that
reveal, even through their apparent banality, a compromise with the world and
its inhabitants. By putting them together and letting the editing do its work
and make them speak, these fragments expose other truths, they open fissures to
also sketches these family portraits through gestures: in Maya at 24 (2020), her daughter runs around her at ages 6, 16 and
24. Filmed in 16mm, it fuses the emotional landscapes of each age –ages, by the
way, that are crucial in a woman’s life–, letting herself be surrounded by love
and energy. Lynne is at the center of this gesture: this act also touches and
We also have to talk about the material nature of film itself, which brings us closer to, we could say, the manual process of transforming those images into a narrative-poem-gesture that summons us and invites us to get involved with these lives. The passage of time is inscribed in these films; the film is affected by light, movement, time and manipulation. Even in digital films we can still feel the presence of the artist’s touch, which is key. Sachs’ works are an invitation to dive deep into the vast archive of images and sounds that we generate, not only to dig into our childhood or hidden stories, but to find ourselves in the process.
It’s weird. With Sachs’ films, we end up feeling like we already know her, that we have talked to her for hours and hours. As in any conversation, one topic leads to another, images repeat, ideas come and go. But as every word turns, another angle reveals itself. In this sense, the power of the minimum inscribes Sachs’ work in a long history of women who have used the moving image as a tool to find themselves, to transform their bodies and their environments and register the beat of a century that learned to see itself through cinema. In Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor (2018), we witness the visits Lynne made to the pioneers of experimental cinema: Carolee Schneeman, Barbara Hammer, and Gunvor Nelson. Visits to the places they called home. They speak about their body and their body of work. They share pieces of their thoughts so we can participate in a different way with their films. Lynne Sachs’ films are an exercise in memory, an expanding memory. From the minimal to the immense, from gesture to revelation. Like glimpses, her movies invite us to be part of a poem: we are just another verse that rhymes with changes of direction, scattered dialogues, the movement of objects and the cuts that link moments that without Lynne’s diligent gaze we would never have found. At CRFIC we are thrilled to present this cinema of what is possible, of what is close. We want to converse with Lynne and her films, and we are fortunate she has opened that door for us.
Translated from the Spanish Original by Maria C. Scharron
“Pensamiento, palabra, imagen” de Fernando Chaves Espinach Director Artístico, Costa Rica Festival International de Cine
Existe cierta clase de cine que parece pequeño pero que, en la pantalla, se
expande hasta abrumarnos.
Así sucede con las imágenes y palabras que hilvana Lynne Sachs: parecen películas frágiles, transparentes, pero nos
golpean con la
contundencia que les confiere el profundo pensamiento que las genera. Desde finales de los años 80, esta cineasta estadounidense ha estado
construyendo una obra que expande y
confunde los límites de la ficción, el documental y las expresiones experimentales del arte cinematográfico. En más de
40 películas, entre
largometrajes y cortometrajes, así como performances, proyectos web e instalaciones, Sachs ha demostrado ser una de
las voces más auténticas del
cine estadounidense experimental. Provoca, desafía y propone. Sus películas aparentan una sencillez que su carga
emocional e intelectual
traiciona; incluso cuando son directas, plantean hondas preguntas que las expanden más allá de su breve duración.
Pero, ¿qué dice alguien como Lynne Sachs a un contexto como el costarricense y
centroamericano? Incluso cuando
son íntimas, las películas de Sachs hablan de lo que llamamos temas “universales”: la casa, la memoria, el tiempo,
la familia y el cine como
dispositivo para indagar en todo aquello. Asimismo, es en su modesta escala, que como ya hemos dicho, no debe
distraer de su incisiva
mirada, que nos mueve a pensar otras formas de acercarnos al cine como realizadores, críticos y espectadores. Algo
arde en estas imágenes de Sachs que
nos impulsa a imaginarnos otra forma de contar: es la voluntad de filmarlo todo y transformarlo con la voz, la
edición, el pensamiento, el ritmo.
En Film About a Father Who (2020), que tuvimosel placer de mostrar en el 9CRFIC, la directoradisecciona la figura de su padre con profundaempatía y una mirada objetiva. Los escombros dela memoria se acumulan en torno a una figuracompleja que nos reta a comprenderlo, sin dejarde lado los momentos de cariño. La historia personalse conforma de pequeños fragmentos grabadosy filmados a lo largo de los años, una acumulaciónde interacciones e instantes que revelan, apesar de su aparente banalidad, un compromisocon el mundo y con sus habitantes. Al unirlos ydejar que la edición les permita hablar en conjunto,los fragmentos emanan otras verdades, abrengrietas a otras intimidades.
Sachs también esboza estos retratos familiarespor medio de los gestos: en Maya at 24 (2020), suhija corre a su alrededor a los 6, 16 y 24 años,filmada en 16mm, fusionando los paisajes emocionalesde cada edad –edades, por otra parte,cruciales en la vida de una mujer–, dejándoserodear por su amor y su energía. Lynne está en elcentro de ese gesto: el acto la trastoca a ellatambién.
Hay que hablar también de la materialidad del filme mismo, que nos aproxima al
proceso manual, diríamos, de
transformar estas imágenes en una narrativa-poema-gesto que nos convoca y nos invita a inmiscuirnos en estas
vidas. En las películas está inscrito
el paso del tiempo; la cinta se deja afectar por la luz, el movimiento, las horas y la manipulación. También en lo
digital se nota esta “mano de la
artista”, que es clave. La obra de Sachs es una invitación a hundir las manos en el vasto archivo de imágenes y
sonidos que generamos, no solo para
excavar momentos de nuestra niñez o historias ocultas, sino para encontrarnos en ellas.
Es raro. Con el cine de Lynne Sachs uno siente quela conoce, que ha conversado con ella por largashoras. Como en cualquier charla así, un tema llevaa otro, se repiten imágenes, ideas van y vienen.Pero en cada giro de la palabra, se devela otroángulo posible. En ese sentido, ese poder de lomínimo inscribe la obra de Sachs en una historiaextensa de mujeres que han tomado la imagen enmovimiento como herramienta para encontrarse,transformar su cuerpo y su entorno, y registrar elpulso de un siglo que aprendió a mirarse en el cine. En Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor (2018), vemoslas visitas que Lynne hizo a Carolee Schneeman,Barbara Hammer y Gunvor Nelson, pioneras delcine experimental, en los lugares que han llamadohogar. Hablan de su cuerpo y de su obra. Noscomparten algunas piezas de su pensamientopara que participemos de otro modo en sus películas.
Así, el cine de Lynne Sachs es un ejercicio dememoria, de una memoria que se expande. De lomínimo a lo inmenso, del gesto a la revelación.Como en destellos, sus películas nos invitan aformar parte de un poema: somos un verso más,que rima con los giros, los diálogos sueltos, elmovimiento de los objetos y los cortes que unenmomentos que, sin la mirada acuciosa de Lynne,jamás se hubieran encontrado. En el CRFIC nosilusiona presentar este cine de lo posible y de locercano. Queremos conversar con Lynne y susfilmes, y para nuestra dicha, nos ha abierto lapuerta.
“Thought, Word, Image” by Fernando Chaves Espinach Artistic Director, Costa Rica International Film Festival
Preamble kicks off June with screenings of the Lynne Sachs Retrospective
Preamble kicks off June with the presentation of the Lynne Sachs Retrospective as a preview of the American filmmaker’s visit to the Costa Rica International Film Festival to be held June 9-18.
To kick off the billboard on Thursday, June 2, starting at 7:00 pm, an exhibition of Film About a Father Who (United States, 2020) .
From 1984 to 2019, Lynne Sachs filmed her father, a lively and innovative businessman. This documentary is the filmmaker’s attempt to understand the networks that connect a girl with her father and a woman with her brothers. The show is for ages 12 and up.
On Friday June 3 starting at 7:00 pm screening of short films. A selection of short films by Lynne Sachs that shows her aesthetic and thematic searches and the experimentation that characterizes a good part of her creations.
The program includes the works: DRAWN AND QUARTERED, STILL LIFE WITH WOMAN AND FOUR OBJECTS, FOLLOWING THE OBJECT TO ITS LOGICAL BEGINNING, THE HOUSE OF SCIENCE: A MUSEUM OF FALSE FACTS, PHOTOGRAPH OF WIND, SAME STREAM TWICE, 2012, CUADRO BY CUADRO , CAROLEE, BARBARA AND GUNVOR, A MONTH OF SINGLE FRAMES, E•PIS•TO•LAR•Y: LETTER TO JEAN VIGO and MAYA AT 24.
For Saturday, June 4, at 7:00 pm presentation of the documentary Tip of my Tongue . To celebrate her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs brings together other people, men and women, who have lived the exact same years but hail from places like Iran, Cuba, Australia, or the Lower East Side of Manhattan, but not Memphis, Tennessee, where Sachs grew up.
The documentary takes place with all these people discussing the most remarkable, strange and revealing moments of their lives, in a brazen and self-reflective examination of the way events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are.
Costa Rica Festival Internacional de Cine que se realizará del 9 al 18 de junio.
Para dar inicio a la cartelera el jueves 2 de junio a partir de las 7:00 p.m exhibición de Film About a Father Who (Estados Unidos, 2020).
Desde 1984 hasta 2019, Lynne Sachs filmó a su padre, un animado e innovador hombre de negocios. Este documental es el intento de la cineasta por entender las redes que conectan a una niña con su padre y a una mujer con sus hermanos. La función es para mayores de 12 años.
El viernes 3 de junio a partir de las 7:00 p.m. proyección de cortometrajes. Una selección de cortos de Lynne Sachs que muestra sus búsquedas estéticas, temáticas y la experimentación que caracteriza buena parte de sus creaciones.
La programación incluye las obras: DRAWN AND QUARTERED, STILL LIFE WITH WOMAN AND FOUR OBJECTS, FOLLOWING THE OBJECT TO ITS LOGICAL BEGINNING, THE HOUSE OF SCIENCE: A MUSEUM OF FALSE FACTS, PHOTOGRAPH OF WIND, SAME STREAM TWICE, 2012, CUADRO POR CUADRO, CAROLEE, BARBARA AND GUNVOR, A MONTH OF SINGLE FRAMES, E•PIS•TO•LAR•Y: LETTER TO JEAN VIGO y MAYA AT 24.
Para el sábado 4 de junio en función de 7:00 p.m. presentación del documental Tip of my Tongue . Para celebrar su cumpleaños 50, la cineasta Lynne Sachs reúne a otras personas, hombres y mujeres, que han vivido exactamente los mismos años pero que provienen de lugares como Irán, Cuba, Australia o el Lower East Side de Manhattan, pero no de Memphis, Tennessee, lugar donde creció Sachs.
El documental transcurre con todas estas personas discutiendo sobre los momentos más destacados, extraños y reveladores de sus vidas, en un examen descarado y autorreflexivo de la forma en que los eventos fuera de nuestro propio universo doméstico impactan quiénes somos.
– The retrospective category has been dedicated to the American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs –
Displaying independent films from 37 countries and in 15 different languages, the tenth edition of the Costa Rica International Film Festival begins on Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the festival will take place in two parts. First from June 9 to 18 and then from June 29 to Aug. 26.
The categories of the festival include retrospective films, panorama, young people and pioneers of cinema, among others.
The retrospective category has been dedicated to the American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs, who has made 37 films, some of which have won awards or have been included in retrospectives at major festivals.
Sachs’s 2019 film, “A Month of Single Frames,” made with and for Barbara Hammer, won the Grand Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 2020.
In 2021, both the Edison Film Festival and the Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center awarded Sachs for her body of work in the experimental and documentary fields.
Last year the Festival displayed “Film About a Father Who” (2020), directed by Sachs, which is defined as “a poignant and moving film,” by Fernando Chaves-Espinach, director of the festival. “(Sachs) mixes fiction, documentary, experimental film, performance among others,” he said.
“Sachs demonstrates the energy of contemporary cinema and the multiple forms that this art takes, from an intimate and reflective perspective that dialogues with certain forms of filmmaking in our context,” Chaves said.
The festival will be held in several movie theaters in San José, as well as in different communities of the country in rural areas so that more people can enjoy the event, the ministry said.
In San José, the films will be shown at Cine Magaly, the Film Center of the Ministry of Culture and the French Alliance of the France Embassy in Costa Rica.
In rural areas, the festival will be presented at the CCM movie theaters, located in San Ramón and San Carlos in Alajuela Province, in Jacó Beach in Puntarenas Province.
Also, CitiCinemas movie theaters in rural areas will present the festival in Grecia in Alajuela Province, Limón City in Limón Province and Paso Canoas in Puntarenas Province.
In addition, the festival will be presented at Multiplexes in Liberia, Guanacaste Province.
The jury is made up of directors, producers and people of the film industry from Costa Rica and other places such as Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Colombia, the Basque Country, Germany and Hungary.
The festival will award three mail films for their formal quality and content. In addition, the winning films will receive about $11,000 in prizes in the categories such as Best National Short; Best Costa Rican Feature Film, Best Central American and Caribbean Feature Film, among others.