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NOTFILM2015

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  • 4.1
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 the feature-length movie 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.

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8 members like this review

By coincidence, yesterday a post came up as a memory on my Facebook - a photograph of diagrams from notes towards Film that Beckett had made, and I was thinking of how the notes were superior to Film itself, as this documentary is also superior to its subject. Film, like some of Beckett's other works, quite simply was never realized to its full potential. Its failure lies perhaps in Beckett's clinging so absolutely to its premise, without letting it develop into something substantial in reality. That said, it is still fascinating because it's Beckett and bears the mark of his genius. This documentary explores the ideas which gave rise to Film, particularly that taken from Irish philosopher George Berkeley, his phrase Esse est percipi: “To be is to be perceived”. Lipman eloquently explores Beckett's development of the theme visually along with its philosophical implications. However, we see Beckett struggle as his ideas are transposed to a new medium. The medium it seems, alters his original intent, or is somewhat limiting. And as well, there is a struggle with his star Buster Keaton, a genius of a different sort, but who probably did not really have much of an intellectual understanding of Beckett's material. Includes riveting interviews with Grove Press founder Barney Rosset and Beckett's frequent collaborator actress Billie Whitelaw. Fascinating for anyone interested in either Beckett or Keaton, who although different in many ways, were also two artists who were perfectionists and who were never afraid to take risks for their art.

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Member Reviews (5)

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By coincidence, yesterday a post came up as a memory on my Facebook - a photograph of diagrams from notes towards Film that Beckett had made, and I was thinking of how the notes were superior to Film itself, as this documentary is also superior to its subject. Film, like some of Beckett's other works, quite simply was never realized to its full potential. Its failure lies perhaps in Beckett's clinging so absolutely to its premise, without letting it develop into something substantial in reality. That said, it is still fascinating because it's Beckett and bears the mark of his genius. This documentary explores the ideas which gave rise to Film, particularly that taken from Irish philosopher George Berkeley, his phrase Esse est percipi: “To be is to be perceived”. Lipman eloquently explores Beckett's development of the theme visually along with its philosophical implications. However, we see Beckett struggle as his ideas are transposed to a new medium. The medium it seems, alters his original intent, or is somewhat limiting. And as well, there is a struggle with his star Buster Keaton, a genius of a different sort, but who probably did not really have much of an intellectual understanding of Beckett's material. Includes riveting interviews with Grove Press founder Barney Rosset and Beckett's frequent collaborator actress Billie Whitelaw. Fascinating for anyone interested in either Beckett or Keaton, who although different in many ways, were also two artists who were perfectionists and who were never afraid to take risks for their art.

8 members like this review
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wonderful_if you love Beckett & Keaton_you'll love this_i did a few commercials & private films when i was a kid but never a commercial film_i think it's really hard to do or realize something that involves so many people_there are just so many variables that you don't see when you start_glad to see this

Beautiful. Very touching. What Beckett was after is what all of us are, whether we are conscious

or not of it. That is to experience directly free of the objectifying influence of consciousness (E).

To objectify is to create separation from what is. Therein lies much of life's suffering. To directly

experience both inner and outer realities, places one naturally in the Milieu of life. An extraordinary

challenge. At the risk of being sentimental, Love in all of it's facets lived over many years, may be

the only opportunity that most of us have to get anywhere near this ideal. Zen strives for this goal,

but that too is a long journey. Beckett through art and intellect brings one within full view, but can't

push us over the top.

Outstanding.

Extraordinary.