Tag Archives: Tip of My Tongue

Maysles Documentary Center: A Public Dialogue, Screening & Poetry Workshop with filmmaker Lynne Sachs

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A Public Dialogue, Screening & Poetry Workshop with filmmaker Lynne Sachs

Sunday, July 21, 2019
11 AM

The cornerstone guest for the 2019 Film and Video Poetry symposium is Lynne Sachs. Sachs’ work with documentary, poetry film and the essay film is consistently avant-garde. In this workshop, Sachs will be in open dialogue regarding her film “Tip of My Tongue” (80 min. 2017), which accentuates the poetry and essay film within its structure. She will also read from her new book Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press, 2019). Sachs will further guide the workshop discourse through an exploration into the hybridization of poetry film and essay film, and the meaning of these genres individually as well as combined. After screening her film, Sachs will ask participants a question as a prompt for writing a poem: How has one moment in your life been affected by a public event beyond your control?

Lynne Sachs will lead the talkback and poetry workshop immediately following the 11 AM screening of her film TIP OF MY TONGUE. We invite all to attend both events at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem, New York.

There is no cost for admission. Light refreshments served!

Maysles Documentary Center
343 Malcolm X Boulevard | New York, NY 10027

A Public Dialogue, Screening & Poetry Workshop with filmmaker Lynne Sachs
Sunday July 21, 2019 | 11 am – 2pm

Schedule:
11 am – screening
12:30 – talk-back and poetry workshop

Tip of My Tongue (80 min. 2017)
a film by Lynne Sachs

To celebrate her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers together other people, men and women who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where Sachs grew up. She invites 12 fellow New Yorkers – born across several continents in the 1960s – to spend a weekend with her making a movie. Together they discuss some of the most salient, strange, and revealing moments of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive examination of the way in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are. As director and participant, Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. They move from the Vietnam War protests to the Anita Hill hearings to the Columbine Shootings to Occupy Wall Street. Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, TIP OF MY TONGUE becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. Traditional timelines are replaced by a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression.

https://www.maysles.org/calendar/2019/7/21/ a-public-dialogue-screening-amp-poetry-workshop-with-filmmaker-lynne-sachs

Film Wax Interview with Lynne and Cast of Tip of My Tongue

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In October 2018, Filmwax Podcaster Adam Schartoff interviewed Lynne and two participant/performers in her film “Tip of My Tongue”.  Adam himself was an integral part of the film, since he two turned 50 in the early 1960s and was ready, willing, and able to open his soul and his memories to our creative process.

You can listen here or go to the Filmwax website:

http://www.filmwaxradio.com/podcasts/episode-515/

[39 mins. 12 secs.]

To celebrate her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathered together other people, men and women, who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where Sachs grew up. She invites 12 fellow New Yorkers – born across several continents in the 1960s – to spend a weekend with her making a movie. Together they discuss some of the most salient, strange, and revealing moments of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive examination of the way in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are. All caught in her fabulous film “Tip of My Tongue”.

In this podcast discussion, we re-unite 4 of the 12 people from that unforgettable weekend a few summers back, including myself, Accra Shepp, Andrea Kannapell and Lynne. The film will have a screening this evening, Thursday, October 18 at 7PM at The Film-makers Cooperative in Manhattan. The film is also available on DVD and blu-ray through Cinema Guild, and for streaming on Kanopy.

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Andrea Kanapell in "Tip of My Tongue"

Andrea Kanapell in “Tip of My Tongue”

 

 

 

 

 

Accra Shepp in "Tip of My Tongue"

Accra Shepp in “Tip of My Tongue”

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Schartoff in "Tip of My Tongue"

Adam Schartoff in “Tip of My Tongue”

Interview with Oktoskop TV Vienna about TIP OF MY TONGUE

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Oktoskop TV’s Lukas Maurer interviewed Lynne in NYC  in conjunction with the broadcast of her film Tip of My Tongue on Austrian TV in June 2018.

https://okto.tv/de/oktothek/episode/20853

Oktoskop

Tip Of My Tongue

A 50th birthday is often an opportunity to reflect. US-American filmmaker Lynne Sachs does so in a clear and completely unsentimental manner. Therefore, her experimental birthday film Tip of my Tongue transcends the conventional “portrait of a half-century”. Shot in one location over the course of one weekend, the individual and collective memory converge in what becomes a poetic as well as eminently political film. In conversation with Lukas Maurer, Lynne Sachs explains how she planned the shoot, why it was important to her to stage it in one location, and how she gathered people from every continent. And the City, which in the film is present particularly through the soundscape, makes itself noticeable also in this interview: Oktoskop Curator Lukas Maurer visited the artist in her studio in New York.

Folge von So, 17.06.2018

Ein 50. Geburtstag ist oft Anlass um zurück zu schauen. Die US-amerikanische Filmemacherin Lynn Sachs tut das mit einem klaren, vollkommen unsentimentalen Blick. Ihr experimenteller Geburtstagsfilm Tip of my Tongue” wird dadurch weit mehr als das herkömmlich Portrait eines halben Jahrhunderts. An einem Ort und während eines Wochenendes gedreht, verschränken sich individuelle mit kollektiven Erinnerungen zu einem ebenso poetischen wie eminent politischen Film. Im Gespräch mit Lukas Maurer erzählt Lynn Sachs wie sie den Dreh Arbeit geplant hat, warum es ihr wichtig war, dass alles an einem einzigen Ort statt fand und wie sie dort Menschen von allen Kontinenten versammelte. Und die Stadt, die im Film vor allem als Sound präsent ist, macht sich auch während des Gesprächs bemerkbar: Denn Oktoskop-Kurator Lukas Maurer hat die Künstlerin in ihrem New Yorker Atelier getroffen.

Tip of My Tongue screens in The Poetic is Political at Film-Makers Cooperative

film_coop_logoWith the Midterm Election approaching, Devon Narin-Singh put together this program to explore a different way of political filmmaking. Each of the films in this program use a personal poetic expression as a jumping off point to explore larger political issues. Produce in the aftermath of Drumpf’s Election, each of these films advocate for the need for artistic expression and joyous ways of rebelling.

Featuring: Tip of My Tongue by Lynne Sachs (a beautiful celebration of life and the history tied to us), THE MOMENTS Evening Boat Ride by Ken Jacobs (a political eternalism of stunning beauty), and A Short History by Erica Sheu (a storybook tale of a divided identity).

Oct. 18, 2018

 

“On Writing the Film Essay” by Lynne Sachs

 “On Writing the Film Essay” by Lynne Sachs
Published in Essays on the Essay Film, edited by Nora M. Alter and Tim Corrigan
Columbia University Press, 2017

Note: All of the films I discuss in this essay can be found on www.lynnesachs.com

Essays on the Essay FilmI feel a closeness to writers, poets and painters, much more than to traditional film directors. For one thing, we ciné experimenters are not bound by the plot-driven mechanics of cause and effect that, for me, often bring the transcendent experience of watching a movie to a grinding halt. The kinds of films I make give the space for mysterious – at least initially — sequences that don’t simply illustrate why one event or scene leads to another. More like an artist than a traditional documentary maker, I am interested in a kind of meaning that is open to interpretation.  Once a film is complete, I often learn things about it from my audience — how the convergence of two images actually expresses an idea or how a non-diegetic sound expands the meaning of spoken phrase. I hope it’s doing one thing, but I might discover that it’s doing something completely different. In this way, the films are kind of porous and flexible; they are open to interpretation. My essay films, in particular, are full of association. Some are resolved and some are adolescent; they’re still trying to figure out who they are.   Through the making of the film, I learn about myself in the context of learning about the world.   My job is not to educate but rather to spark a curiosity in my viewer that moves from the inside out.   The texts for these films come to me in both public and private spaces:  on a long train ride, during a layover in a strange city, at a café, in a hotel room, on the toilet.

Throughout the 1990s, I gravitated toward the simultaneously visceral and cerebral French feminist theory of Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray. As a moving image artist searching for a new discourse that spoke to radical issues with an equally radical form, I embraced this kind of writing as it led me toward the non-narrative, unconventional grammar of experimental film as well as the self-reflexivity of the essay.  My first essay film was “The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts” (1991), a personal rumination on the relationship between a woman’s body and the often-opposing institutions of art and science.  While I was shooting this film, I was also keeping a diary:

“My memory of being a girl includes a “me” that is two. I am two bodies – the body of the body and the body of the mind.  The body of the body was flaccid and forgotten.  This was the body that was wet with dirty liquids, holes that wouldn’t close, full of smells and curdled milk.  Of course there was the skeleton.  This was assumed and only reconsidered upon my very rare attempts at jumping farther than far enough, clearing the ditch, lifting the heave-ho. But the body of the body was not the bones.  This body wrapped and encircled the bones, a protective cover of flesh, just on the other side of the wall I call skin.”

I will never forget a cross-country plane ride I took near the end of editing this film. Throughout the time I was in the air, as I flew across the Mississippi, the Great Plains, and the Rockies, I was searching frantically for the hidden skeletal structure of the film. I’d committed to a premiere at the Los Angeles Film Forum, and I only had a couple of months until my screening date.  (Stupid me. I’ll never do that again!) Midway into the flight, I realized it was all laid out before me in the form of the poetry journal I carried in my backpack.  The writing had been with me all along; I simply hadn’t realized that this text was more than a dispensable traveling partner in the “journey” that was the production of the movie. Over the next few weeks, my poems began to guide my editing of the images and sounds,.  Ever since that early period in my filmmaking career, I’ve kept a handwritten journal during the making of my films. In addition to contributing an often times essential narrative element, this kind of writing can also be the critical link to the “naïve” yet curious person I may no longer really “know,” the person I was when I embarked on the intellectual and artistic adventure that is the creation of a film.

In my 1994 essay film “Which Way is East: Notebooks from Vietnam” (1994), I built a voice-over narration out of two surprisingly oppositional perspectives on post-war Vietnam. My sister Dana Sachs, one of the first American journalists to live for an extended period of time in Vietnam, offered expansive, highly informed insights on Vietnamese daily life.  In contrast, my writing traced my own transformation from earnest, war-obsessed American tourist to more keenly observant traveler:

“Driving through the Mekong Delta, a name that carries so much weight. My mind is full of war, and my eyes are on a scavenger hunt for leftovers. Dana told me that those ponds full of bright green rice seedlings are actually craters, the inverted ghosts of bombed out fields.  At Cu Chi, we pay three U.S. dollars so that a tour guide will lead us through a section of this well-known 200-kilometer tunnel complex. This is the engineering masterpiece of the Viet Cong, a matrix of underground kitchens and living rooms and army headquarters. As I slide through the narrow, dusty passageway, my head fills up with those old war movies Dad took us to in the ’70′s. My body is way too big for these tunnels. I can hardly breathe. After five minutes, I come out gasping.  We decide not to spend the extra ten dollars it costs to shoot a rifle.”

Only by reconnecting to the developing stages of my awareness through my journal could I provide an opening to my American audience.  The narrative trajectory of this half-hour film follows our evolving understanding of the landscape and the people of Vietnam. Honestly, my sister Dana and I fought all the through the shaping of the film’s voice over.  If she hadn’t been my sister, I probably would have fired her as a collaborator!  The fundamental tension between the two of us grew out of several distinct differences between our points of view.  While she had very much completed her own reckoning with the destruction of the war between Vietnam and the United States, I, like most tourists, was still dealing with the war’s echoes and the guilt that came with that psychic burden.  While she wanted to follow the order of events to the letter, I felt free to articulate our experiences by distilling our stories into anecdotes that could function like parables. By recognizing the inherent tension between my position as a non-narrative experimental filmmaker and my sister’s commitment to a more transparent commentary, we were able to find a rhetorical strategy that mirrors the most fundamental conflicts around discourse and truth facing an essayist in any format.   In several quintessentially self-reflexive moments, my sister expresses exasperation with almost every aspect of my production process:

“Lynne can stand for an hour finding the perfect frame for her shot. It’s as if she can understand Vietnam better when she looks at it through the lens of her camera. I hate the camera. The world feels too wide for the lens, and if I try to frame it, I only cut it up.”

In 1997, I completed “Biography of Lilith” (1997), a film exploring the ruptures both women and men must confront when transitioning from being autonomous individuals to parents with responsibilities.  I began making this film when I discovered I was pregnant with my first daughter and by the time I finished three years later I was able to punctuate the final sound mix with the cries of my second child. Inspired by the theoretical texts of Julia Kristeva and Antonin Artaud, in particular, this film celebrates my most intimate and abject concerns about the changes in my body and my place in the world as a woman. My film on Lilith, Adam’s first mate, is also a portrait of a female archetype who boldly wanted to be on top during sex. The film matches a non-authoritative exposition of Lilith in a multiplicity of cultures – both ancient and contemporary – with my own pre and post-partum writing. In this way, I juxtaposed two years of historical and cultural research and interviews with intimate ruminations on my own sexuality and motherhood.

“I’m learning to read all over again. A face, this time, connected to a body.  At first, I feel your story from within.  Nose rubs against belly, elbow prods groin. Your silent cough becomes a confusing dip and bulge.  You speak and I struggle to translate.  I lie on my side, talk to myself, rub my fingers across my skin, from left to right.  I read out loud, and I hope you can hear me.  I’m learning to read all over again, but this time I have a teacher.”

In “States of UnBelonging” (2005), my fourth film in a five-film body of work I call “I Am Not a War Photographer”, I turned to Terence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” and to the “Hell” section of Jean Luc Godard’s “Notre Musique” for lessons from makers who were capable of articulating the horror of war. I constructed this film around an epistolary friendship I had with an Israeli student who moved back to Tel Aviv during an extremely volatile period in Israel-Palestine.  A meditation on war as well as land, the Bible, and filmmaking, this essay film is built from over three years of emails.  With enormous hesitation and intimidation, we reveal our anguish and bewilderment in the film’s soundtrack as well as on the screen as text. With an awareness of my own position in this charged political landscape, I start the film with a kind of meta-historical lamentation on the way that human beings organize time:

“Do you ever have the feeling that the history you are experiencing has no shape?

Even as a teenager I was obsessed with history’s shifts and ruptures. Wars helped us order time. A war established beginnings and endings. There is “before.” There is “during.” There is “after.”

I am currently working on “Tip of My Tongue”, a film on memory that began with 50 autobiographical poems I wrote about each year from my birth in 1961 to my 50th birthday.  Unlike my previous films, in which the research and shooting themselves prompted the text, this project grew directly from my poetry.   Without the slightest concern for how the poems would eventually shimmy their way into one of my movies, in 2012 I gave myself the unencumbered freedom to write about my own life.  In each poem, I looked at the relationship between a large public event and my own insignificant, yet somehow personally memorable, connection to that situation.  Now, three years later, I am working with a cast of eleven people from almost every continent, each of whom was born around the year 1961. Together we are creating an inverted history of our collective half-century through a series of spoken story distillations that place the grand in the shadow of the intimate.  From glimpsing a drunken Winston Churchill on the streets of London to watching the Moon landing from a playground in Melbourne to washing dishes during the Iranian Revolution to feeling destitute during the Recession, we are working collaboratively to construct our own recipe for a performative sound-image essay film.

Excerpt from Review by Tanya Goldman in Cinema Journal:

“There is often a poetic dialogue extending between sections when a voice of the past rhymes with the present. In 1948, Alexandre Astruc wrote of a cinema that should function as “the seismograph of our hearts, a disorderly pendulum inscribing on film the tense dialectics of our ideas.” This quality is echoed in Lynne Sachs’s 2016 reflections on her own practice through which she feels a stronger sense of kinship with writers, poets, and painters than film directors. She states that her job “is not to educate but rather to spark curiosity in my viewer that moves from the inside out.” Observations such as these bestow the essay film with a distinct emotive quality much at odds with classical documentary’s association with sobriety.”

Tanya Goldman
Cinema Journal, Volume 57, Number 4, Summer 2018, pp. 161-166 (Review)
Published by University of Texas Press
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/cj.2018.0064

 

 

 

 

Lynne Sachs – Dialogue with Willy Bearden

2018
Dialogue with Willy Bearden – Lynne Sachs
Lynne Sachs discusses her filmmaking practice with Memphis’ iconic, Willy Bearden.

Filmmaker Willy Bearden hosts this hour long program which features both conversations with and performances by some of the most renowned musicians and entertainers of this generation. His in-depth interview style and this personal setting make Dialogue with Willy Bearden one of the most must-see programs available on cable television.

Memphis Public Library

Learn more about Willy Bearden:
“Willy Bearden” in Memphis Magazine by Mary Helen Tibbs
• “Willy Bearden – Images from one of Memphis” in Memphis Magazine best-known filmmakers” by Richard J. Alley

THE LANTERN – “Tip of My Tongue” Screens at the Wexner Center (Article and Full Interview)

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The Lantern – The Ohio State University
by Chase-Anthony Ray
November 2017

 

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When Lynne Sachs celebrated her 50th birthday, she wasn’t concerned about an impending midlife crisis. Instead, she decided to celebrate with 11 New Yorkers she had never met.

For her latest documentary, “Tip of My Tongue,” Sachs gathered a diverse group of men and women from different countries including Iran, Cuba and Australia, who shared one thing in common: age.

Together with Sachs, the group discussed strange and revealing moments of their lives in which uncontrollable events –– outside their own domestic universe –– have impacted who they all have become.

“Tip of My Tongue” will screen at the Wexner Center for the Arts Wednesday in the latest installment of its “Visiting Filmmakers” series.

Sachs is known for creating films, videos, installations and web projects that explore the relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. She also has a habit of weaving together poetry, collaging, painting, politics, and layered sound design.

Sachs wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, and guided her collaborators across the landscapes of their memories from the Vietnam War protests, to the Anita Hill hearings, to the Columbine massacre, and all the way to Occupy Wall Street, according to her website.

“I am happiest when my film ‘characters’ explore storytelling from various subjectivities,” Sachs said. “[To explore their] various selves and other selves … is a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, situation or place.”

The Wexner Center prides itself on bringing acclaimed filmmakers like Sachs to screen their works because it believes it is one of few institutions supporting this type of work, said David Filipi, director of film and video at the Wexner Center.

“We make it a priority to support personal filmmakers like Lynne, both by screening their films as well as providing post-production support to some through our studio program,” Filipi said. “There are fewer and fewer venues supporting this type of work, which makes it all the more imperative that we provide an opportunity for these types of films to be screened and seen by audiences in our region.”

Sachs said she chose to screen “Tip of My Tongue” because she believes Ohio State is in the small minority of universities with acclaimed museums.

“There are only two state universities in the United States that have extraordinary, world-class museums — the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [at University of California, Berkeley] and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State,” Sachs said. “I have had the honor to screen my films at both institutions, and have been deeply moved by my interactions with the students and members of the public who fill the seats in these theaters.”

Filipi said Ohio State students might be surprised and intrigued by what Lynne captures with her film.

“Right now, you’re surrounded by your friends and peers, and your shared experiences are immediately recognizable… [but eventually], your friend and peer group isn’t always as present and there are other commitments and distractions that accumulate as you get older,” Filipi said. “Lynne has a very personal approach to documentary, and this is one of the traits that sets her films apart from others.”

Gathering a group of middle-aged adults from all backgrounds allows the theme of self-reflection and recounting one’s own memories to drive the entire film.

“In ‘Tip of My Tongue’ I tried to dig down into my own and my collaborators’ pain and joy … I was looking for surprising intimacy that is different from simply ‘telling the truth,’” Sachs said. “To bare my own soul, I needed to begin with my own poetry and then move onto something more visual –– I wanted my camera to express this intimacy.”

The screening of “Tip of My Tongue” will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Wexner Center. Admission is $6 for students and $8 for the general public.

 

Read the full interview below:
  Can you explain the title a little bit?
Well, tip of my tongue is an expression that people use for the experience of trying to remember something but not being able to verbalize it, knowing that it is there in the recesses of your consciousness but not having complete access to it.  I like the physicality of the expression, the way it connects to our anatomy and to our bodies. I feel that this sensation – which can be both exhilarating and frustrating – articulates the communal memory experiment that I conducted in the making of the film.

 

  Why bring  your film to Ohio state?
In my opinion, there are only two state universities in the United States that have extraordinary, world-class museums – the Berkeley Art Museum/ Pacific Film Archive at University of California Berkeley and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State.  I have had the honor to screen my films at both institutions, and have been deeply moved by my interactions with the students and members of the public who fill the seats in these theaters.

 

  What can OSU students expect from this film?
To celebrate my 50th birthday, I gathered together other people, men and women who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where I grew up.  I invited 12 fellow New Yorkers — born across several continents in the 1960s — to spend a weekend with me making a movie. Together we discussed some of the most salient, strange and revealing moments of our lives. As a group, we talked about the ways in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe have impacted who we all have become. Together, we all move from the Vietnam War protests to the Anita Hill hearings to the Columbine Shootings to Occupy Wall Street.  Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, TIP OF MY TONGUE ultimately becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. We replace traditional timelines with a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression. 

In addition, OSU students are going to hear music from Stephen Vitiello, one of the most recognized sound artist in this country! 

 


  How did you manage to find all these participants among the same age and get them to participate?
I used all sorts of methods for finding the people in the film.  I posted on Facebook stating that I was making a film project that needed people who were born around the same time that I was – in 1961.  I also asked everyone I knew for suggestions because I was really committed to working with participants in the film who came from as many different continents as possible.  I wanted as diverse viewpoints and life experiences as I could possibly find. 

 

  You wrote 50 poems for every year of your life. Explain to me why you did that and how easy/difficult that process was?
When I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1970s, I had a great aunt named Isabel.  Aunt Isabel was passionate about poetry. She was a devout aficionado of the works of poets such as Marianne Moore, Denise Levertov, Philip Levine, and Cathy Acker and expressed her love of the marriage of poetry and image through her life-long acquisition of artist made books.  She had hundreds of these books and was thrilled to share her collection with me throughout my teenage years. Little did I know how affected I would be by the hours we spent together turning the pages of her books. It was during these exhilarating moments of discovery that I began to find my own artistic muse. 

     I’ve been making experimental and documentary films since 1983.  When I turned 50 in 2011, I decided to return to my love of poetry, painting, drawing and photography – to further explore a conceptual thread I had been developing in my films for many years:  In what ways are the private, most intimate moments in our lives affected by the public world beyond?  While visiting the Museum of Modern Art, I discovered the work of Serbian conceptual and media artist Sanja Ivekovic.  In one black and white video piece made over a period of 14 years in the 1970s and early 80s, she created a remarkable visual dichotomy between her existence as a mother at home with her child and her observations on the Yugoslavian police state.  She simply cut back and forth between a tall glass of milk and a street tussle with soldiers, or an infant’s eye and some form of state TV propaganda and the effect, for me, was breathtaking.  

 

  Why did you choose self-reflection and recounting ones own past memories as a main theme for the film?
I am happiest when my film ‘characters’ explore storytelling from various subjectivities,” various selves and other-selves, opening up, perhaps ironically, a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, in a specific situation or place.” 

       In “Tip of My Tongue” I tried to dig down into my own and my collaborators’ pain and joy.  Then I tried to articulate these experiences as a shared exploration for the camera. I was looking for surprising intimacy that is different from simply ‘telling the truth.’ To bare my own soul, I needed to begin with my own poetry and then move to something more visual. I wanted my camera to express this intimacy through textures, objects, places, reflections, faces, hands.   (from a conversation with Kelly Spivey, Brooklyn College Film Professor)

Tip of My Tongue

Tip of My Tongue (80 min. 2017)
a film by Lynne Sachs

To celebrate her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers together other people, men and women who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where Sachs grew up. She invites 12 fellow New Yorkers – born across several continents in the 1960s – to spend a weekend with her making a movie. Together they discuss some of the most salient, strange, and revealing moments of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive examination of the way in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are. As director and participant, Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. They move from the Vietnam War protests to the Anita Hill hearings to the Columbine Shootings to Occupy Wall Street. Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, TIP OF MY TONGUE becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. Traditional timelines are replaced by a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression. (Anthology Film Archives Calendar)

RECENT PRESS

“Tip of My Tongue is entrancing. As someone who was born in the mid ’90s, I am distantly removed from many of the events mentioned in the film. To hear personal accounts of the Iranian revolution or Nixon’s resignation was surreal for me, offering me a glimpse into a past I never experienced. I can only imagine the memories Tip of My Tongue would unearth for those who have lived through those same events. This film offers viewers a brilliant visual representation of what it means to remember. The metaphor one participant uses to describe the nature of political change can easily be applied to the human brain: ‘It’s like the paradigm of being part of an organism rather than part of a machine.’ It’s hardly simple, or even logical, but isn’t the complexity what makes it so interesting?” (Agnes Films, http://agnesfilms.com/reviews/review-of-tip-of-my-tongue-directed-by-lynne-sachs/)

“A mesmerizing ride through time, a dreamscape full of reflection, filled with inspired use of archival footage, poetry, beautiful cinematography and music. Raises the question of how deeply events affect us, while granting us enough room to crash into our own thoughts, or float on by, rejoicing in the company of our newfound friends.”  (Screen Slate, Sonya Redi https://www.screenslate.com/features/366)

“A beautiful, poetic collage of memory, history, poetry, and lived experience, in all its joys, sorrows, fears, hopes, triumphs, and tragedies … rendered in exquisite visual terms, creating an artful collective chronicle of history.” (Christopher Bourne, Screen Anarchy,
http://screenanarchy.com/2017/02/nyc-weekend-picks-feb-24-26-jordan-peele-curates-oscar-nominated-shorts-and-best-picture-winners-doc-gallery.htm
)

An examination of one generation’s complex and diverse navigation between public and private experience.” (“Tip of My Tongue: Film Scratches: Public Stories, Private Memories” review in Film International) http://filmint.nu/?p=20232

“The past is unearthed, turned over and reconsidered in new and astonishing ways by three filmmakers marking their return to Doc Fortnight …. To mark her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers a group of her contemporaries—all New Yorkers but originally hailing from all corners of the globe—for a weekend of recollection and reflection on the most life-altering personal, local, and international events of the past half-century, creating a collective distillation of their times. Interspersed with poetry and flashes of archival footage, this poignant reverie reveals how far beyond our control life is, and how far we can go despite this.” (The Museum of Modern Art)

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Featuring: Dominga Alvarado, Mark Cohen, Sholeh Dalai, Andrea Kannapell, Sarah Markgraf, Shira Nayman, George Sanchez, Adam Schartoff, Erik Schurink, Accra Shepp, Sue Simon, Jim Supanick

Music – Stephen Vitiello; Camera – Sean Hanley, Ethan Mass, Lynne Sachs; Editing – Amanda Katz; Archival Research – Craig Baldwin; Sound Mix – Damian Volpe

Selected Screenings:

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Supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts and a MacDowell Colony Residency

Tip of My Tongue at Athens International Film and Video Festival

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http://athensfilmfest.org/tip-of-my-tongue/

Tip of my Tongue
Director: Lynne Sachs
Documentary
80 min
USA

Competition Feature
Thursday, April 6, 3:00 PM

Twelve New Yorkers born in the early 1960s across several continents “visit” every year of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive experiment about what it’s meant to live in America over the last half century. Director and participant Lynne Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. She gives each person the same historical timeline as a catalyst for an exploration of the relationship between their personal lives and the times in which they have lived. Initially strangers with nothing in common but their age, the group works together writing, performing and filming.

Screen Slate Review of Tip of My Tongue

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Tip of My Tongue
by Sonya Redi
Featured February 25th 2017

https://www.screenslate.com/features/366

Most moments have a terrible tendency to surround us, enveloping us and swallowing us whole, before we have time to understand or process them. Much like waves, they pass through us, sometimes violently, taking our whole body for a spin and leaving us with nothing except an intense sensation and vivid memory. Lynne Sachs‘ latest film, Tip of My Tongue , grants us the impossible gift of trying to change that—letting us comfortably, over the course of a weekend, try to process those moments which impacted us so profoundly in the last half century. Sachs’ brilliant body of work has often focused on the curious dance between histories, the personal and global, so it is no surprise that her latest film moves across a myriad of topics with skill and grace.

Though singular in scope, the film’s premise is delightfully simple. In honor of her fiftieth birthday, Sachs gathers a group of New Yorkers from around the world, whose only common trait is that they were born around the same time. Together they spend the weekend conversing and sharing their personal memories from these turbulent years, reflecting on topics ranging from the assassination of JFK to Occupy Wall Street. Through this sharing of intimate fragments we are able to feel instantly connected, as if along for the journey. Sachs creates a magical, safe space for us to get lost in conversation, as well as take a step back and unfold on our own memories, however big or small.

It’s a mesmerizing ride through time, a dreamscape full of reflection and wonder, filled with inspired use of archival footage, poetry, beautiful cinematography and music. The film flows seamlessly across the years like one of the elusive waves it is trying to catch. It raises the question of how deeply events affect us, while granting us enough room to crash into our own thoughts, or float on by, rejoicing in the company of our newfound friends.

© Jon Dieringer 2010-2017. All Rights Reserved.