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Born in New York in 1939, Kramer made his directorial debut in 1965 with Faln. During the late sixties in the wave of youth rebellion and anti-Vietnam War activism, he founded, with Jon Jost and others, the radical filmmaking collective Newsreel and produced 50 works in the span of 4 years. Later, as a leading American leftist independent filmmaker, he continued his political critique of contemporary society with films that treaded the boundary between fiction and documentary. Well known as a sharp critic of American society, Kramer moved to Paris in the eighties and expanded the subject of his works, making not only feature length films but also short films and videos. His major works include In the Country (1966), The Edge (1967), Milestones (1975), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal (1977), Guns (1980), Notre Nazi (1984), Doc's Kingdom (1987), and Starting Point/Point de Depart. His monumental Route One/USA, won this festival's 1989 Mayor's Prize.
I'm going to say it in an extreme way--for discussion, at least to think about it.
I am afraid that we are getting weary of this planet. We are using it up, its resources and its wonder. And as we humans are more separate from, and dominant over all other living things, we are driven to find ever higher levels of diversion and stimulation. We are inseparable from our technology, It has become an extension of our nervous system. We depend on that technology to project us into a new world, a fresh new world where everything still remains to be done and discovered. Or we are dependent on that technology to actually get us off this planet Earth and out there, away, on the road again!
Surely I simplify. But a feeling in us is: there are too many of us, we have made a mess, it is doubtful that we can learn less destructive, less competitive, communal ways. And the unchanged habits of the predator, or our genes working to assure their own survival, compell us to move on, to seek out the next fertile area that we can successfully occupy and use according to our whims, and with all our fragile justifications.
The connection with film in general and documentary in particular? Cinema--not "the movies," or "the image," or "television," but cinema--this specific project, this discipline, this practisc of a certain investigation, analysis and representation of ideas, cinema belongs to the material world. It is about where we are standing now. It is about the pleasures and problems of here. It is always about this world and our bodies moving through this world. Cinema, and especially the documentary, affirm not only our inseparability from each other, but also from a whole web of relationships with objects and other living things. The irony is, that even as the image increasingly stands in the way of a real contact with things as they are, as image-spectacles mirror the very world-weariness I am talking about here, the right film at the right time gives us one of the few ways we have of staying in touch with what is really around us, and to recall why it is important to remain in touch. One result of such experiences is to help restore communicability between us and the world around us.
|The destruction of the Iron Curtain; the unification of the EC and the erosion of national frontiers; the increasing number of immigrants and the ensuing multi-racialialization of society; AIDS and other devastating new epidemics; unemployment; racial conflicts. . . . Where is the Europe of the 1990s going? A young singer of classical music, black in appearance but French by nationality, and her brother, an athlete who has hurt his ankle. The journey of these two toward the east is also the journey of Europe itself, searching for its future destiny. As a wanderer who has chosen Europe for his transient residence, Robert Kramer's piercing eyes observe and meditate on the meaning of the search.|
|Director: Robert Kramer
Photography: Richard Copans, Katell Dijan, Blaise Bauquis, Robert Kramer
Music: Barre Phillips
Cast: Jacques Martial, Laure Duthilleul, Betsabée Haas
Producers: Ruth Waldburger, Pierre-Alain Schatzmann
Production Company: Avventura Films
Source: Vega Film AG
Kraftstrasse 33, Postfach, CH-8044 Zurich, SWITZERLAND
Phone: 41-1-252-6000 / Fax: 41-1-252-6635
FRANCE / 1996 / French, German, Russian, etc. / Color / 35mm / 115 min
|Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee|