Writers on Film

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Lynne Sachs: Portrait of a Filmmaker Who

Season 1, Ep. 23

John Bleasdale talks to Lynne Sachs, the Memphis born, Brooklyn based filmmaker on the eve of a season of her works being streamed on the Criterion Channel. Since the 1980s, Sachs has created cinematic works that defy genre through the use of hybrid forms and collaboration, incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, documentary and poetry. Her films explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. With each project, she investigates the implicit connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself.

 

Over her career, Sachs has been awarded support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NYFA, and Jerome Foundation. Sachs has made 40 films (including Tip of My TongueYour Day is My NightInvestigation of a Flame, and Which Way is East). Her films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, Wexner Center, the Walker, the Getty, New York Film Festival, and Sundance. In 2021, Edison Film Festival and Prismatic Ground Film Festival at Maysles Documentary Center awarded Sachs for her body of work.

 

Sachs is also deeply engaged with poetry. In 2019, Tender Buttons Press published her first book Year by Year Poems. In 2020 and 2021, she taught film and poetry workshops at Beyond Baroque, Flowchart Foundation, San Francisco Public Library, and Hunter.  www.lynnesachs.com


After comprehensive career retrospectives at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2020 and the Museum of the Moving Image in 2021, the Criterion Channel is delighted to announce that director Lynne Sachs’ films will join the Channel in October 2021 along with a newly recorded director interview exploring her works. Sachs will be making her the Criterion Channel debut with seven earlier works followed by her latest feature, Film About a Father Who, recently released theatrically by Cinema Guild and receiving its exclusive streaming premiere with the Criterion Channel. 

 


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6/8/2022

Dana Stevens on Buster Keaton

Season 1, Ep. 59
Buy the book here. In this genre-defying work of cultural history, the chief film critic ofSlateplaces comedy legend and acclaimed filmmaker Buster Keaton’s unique creative genius in the context of his time.Born the same year as the film industry in 1895, Buster Keaton began his career as the child star of a family slapstick act reputed to be the most violent in vaudeville. Beginning in his early twenties, he enjoyed a decade-long stretch as the director, star, stuntman, editor, and all-around mastermind of some of the greatest silent comedies ever made, includingSherlock Jr.,The General, andThe Cameraman.Even through his dark middle years as a severely depressed alcoholic finding work on the margins of show business, Keaton’s life had a way of reflecting the changes going on in the world around him. He found success in three different mediums at their creative peak: first vaudeville, then silent film, and finally the experimental early years of television. Over the course of his action-packed seventy years on earth, his life trajectory intersected with those of such influential figures as the escape artist Harry Houdini, the pioneering Black stage comedian Bert Williams, the television legend Lucille Ball, and literary innovators like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Samuel Beckett.InCamera Man, film critic Dana Stevens pulls the lens out from Keaton’s life and work to look at concurrent developments in entertainment, journalism, law, technology, the political and social status of women, and the popular understanding of addiction. With erudition and sparkling humor, Stevens hopscotches among disciplines to bring us up to the present day, when Keaton’s breathtaking (and sometimes life-threatening) stunts remain more popular than ever as they circulate on the internet in the form of viral gifs. Far more than a biography or a work of film history,Camera Manis a wide-ranging meditation on modernity that paints a complex portrait of a one-of-a-kind artist.