Notfilm

  • Directed by Ross Lipman
  • United States, 2015, 130 mins.

Lipman, longtime film restorationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and film essayist, dives into the production of Samuel Beckett’s only film credit, a 1964 short simply titled FILM. Beckett, only five years away from winning the Nobel Prize for literature, wrote this elliptical avant-garde short and embarked on a tumultuous collaboration with Buster Keaton, cinematographer Boris Kaufman, theatre director Alan Schneider, and Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset. Through extensive deployment of deemed-lost materials and clips from FILM, Lipman deftly guides us through one of the strangest productions of the 20th century, in the end drawings exciting and provocative parallels with celluloid’s slow fade—and its resurgence–in the early 21st century. “Notfilm asks, as Beckett did, what cinema can tell us of the human experience. It aspires, as Beckett did, to Joyce’s dictum that artworks should not be about things, but be things themselves.”—Ross Lipman.

Read A.O. Scott’s review of Notfilm for The New York Times (3/31/2016)

Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Documentary