Harvard Film Archive Presents Margaret Tait: Subjects and Sequences

From: Brooke Holgerson (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Sep 20 2006 - 12:32:29 PDT

Hi Frameworkers,

Wanted to let you know about an event happening this weekend at the
Harvard Film Archive:

At the Harvard Film Archive
Saturday, September 23 at 7 and 9 pm


As part of the new series Recent Restorations, the Harvard Film Archive
will be screening newly restored prints of Margaret Tait's films. One of
Britain's most individual filmmakers, Margaret Tait (1918-1999) produced
over 30 films and published three books of poetry and two volumes of
short stories. Tait described her films as poems, and often quoted
Federico Garcia Lorca's phrase of "stalking the image" to define her
philosophy and method, believing that if you look at an object closely
enough it will speak its nature. She once said that her films are born
of"sheer wonder and astonishment at how much can be seen in any place
that you choose...if you really look." /Program notes adapted from LUX/.

About Recent Restorations: Recent Restorations is a new series in two
parts celebrating the efforts of film preservationists and the
filmmakers whose work they restore. The art and practice of film
preservation saves many films from decay and disappearance. Thanks to
archival organizations (like the Scottish Screen Archive and Anthology
Film Archives in New York) and individuals committed to the care of
original film material and the integrity of films in need of
restoration, the survival of our film heritage is protected. We honor
these efforts with two evenings celebrating the work of independent
filmmakers whose recently restored films enable those unfamiliar with
their work to discover it for the first time. This program provides as
well the opportunity to return to films not exhibited in years, giving
new life to work now available in beautiful restoration prints. On
November 14 we will present the second part of the series, *Notes for
Viewing: An Evening with Saul Levine*. Levine, a legend of small gauge
filmmaking, will be present to discuss his work.

/With special thanks to Mike Sperlinger, LUX; Scottish Screen Archive;
Andy Lampert, Anthology Film Archives; Bill Brand, BB Optics./
September 23 (Saturday) 7 pm
_Three Portrait Sketches_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1951, 16mm, silent, b/w, 6 min. /
Made while Tait was still studying in Rome, the three portraits of the
title are: Claudia Donzelli, Fernando Birri, and Saulat Rahman.//
_Portrait of Ga_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1952, 16mm, color, 4 min. /
A portrait of Tait's mother, filmed on Orkney.
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1974, 16mm, color, 4 min/.
"Touches on elemental images; air, water, (and snow), earth, fire (and
smoke) all come into it." -- Margaret Tait
_Hugh MacDiarmid A Portrait_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1964, 16mm, b/w, 8 min. /
An affectionate study of the poet, seen at home and in Edinburgh, is
accompanied by his poems "You Know Who I Am", "Somersault", "Krang", and
some lines out of "The Kind of Poetry I Want".
_Colour Poems_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1974, 16mm, color, 20 min. /
"Nine linked short films. The titles within the film are: /Numen of the
Boughs, Old Boots, Speed Bonny Boat, Lapping Water, Incense, Aha, Brave
New World, Things Found, Terra Firma./ A poem started in words is
continued in images - Part of another poem as an addition to the picture
- Some images formed by direct-on-film animation - Others 'found' by the
camera." --Margaret Tait
_Where I Am Is Here_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1964, 16mm, b/w, 33 min. /
A film poem in seven parts: /Complex, Here and Now, Interlude,
Crocodile, Come and See, Out of this World, The Bravest Boat./ "Starting
with a six-line script which just noted down a kind of event to occur,
and recur, my aim was to construct a film with its own logic, its own
correspondences within itself, and its own echoes and rhymes and
comparisons, through close exploration of the everyday, the commonplace,
in the city, Edinburgh, where I stayed at the time." --Margaret Tait
September 23 (Saturday) 9 pm
_Happy Bees_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1955, 16mm, color, 17 min. /
"/Happy Bees/ was intended to be an evocation of what it was like to be
a small child in Orkney; when, one (wrongly) remembers, it was sunny all
the time, and everything is bursting with life. A film about what
surrounds a child, so quite a lot of it is watched at the child level."
--Margaret Tait
_The Drift Back_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1957, 16mm, b/w, 10 min. /
A documentary made for Okney Disctrict Council following the return of
families to Orkney.

_Place of Work_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1976, 16mm, color, 31 min. /
"An exploration of the ambience of a house (Buttquoy House, Kirkwall,
Orkney) in the 4-5 months before it had to be vacated...allows Margaret
Tait to present not only aspects of the present but something of the
nature and intensity of her experiencing and re-experiencing a place
that was, for half a century, the family home, and, for the past seven
years the centre of her film-making" (Alex Pirie).

/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1976,, 16mm, b/w, 9 min. /
The film was conceived as a coda to /Place of Work/, made in the same
year. "It covers the time of finally emptying a longtime family home,
with its personal memories and connection with some of my own work."
--Margaret Tait

_Garden Pieces_
/Directed by Margaret Tait/
/UK 1998, 16mm, color, 11 min. /
A set of three pieces: "/Round the Garde/" is literally a look right
round a back garden, from a central point, repeated /da capo. Fliers
/ is an animation piece, scratched-on. With added dyes. /Grove/
studies and contemplates a group of trees planted maybe sixty years ago
in a disused quarry." --Margaret Tait

This evening of programming is part of the series Recent Restorations.
For more information, please visit

The Harvard Film Archive is located on the lower level of the Carpenter
Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy St. Cambridge
617 495 4700
Film Admission Prices $8 Regular Admission, $6 Students, Harvard Faculty
and Staff, Senior Citizens

Brooke Holgerson
Harvard Film Archive
email suppressed

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.