Cult Film: Film & Documentary Film: Notfilm
06/15/2016, 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM
$9/$5 Brooks members and students with valid ID/Free with VIP Film Pass. map
Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett’s lone work for projected cinema was entitled archetypally, Film, and grew from Berkeley’s pronouncement, essi et percipi: “To be is to be perceived.”
Yet Beckett’s ontological concerns have less to do with the plastic medium than the nature of recorded and projected images. Film is in essence a chase film; arguably the craziest committed to celluloid.
It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflective masterpiece Man With a Movie Camera (with the latter in the titular role).
Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, Film is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers.
Film will be followed by Ross Lipman’s documentary Notfilm. In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history: his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film. Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself. Notfilm is a feature-length experimental essay on Film’s production and its philosophical implications, utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements.
Film | Director: Samuel Beckett | USA | 1966 | 24 minutes
Notfilm | Director: Ross Lipman | USA | 2016 | 128 minutes
Tickets are available online until 2:30 pm the day of the screening or 2:30 pm on Friday for weekend matinees. Tickets are also available at Visitor Services, or by calling 901.544.6208 during regular business hours. Unsold tickets are also available in the rotunda immediately preceding a screening.