Special Presentation: Robert Beavers

Date: 17 November 2002 | Season: London Film Festival 2002 | Tags: ,

Sunday 17 November 2002, at 4:15pm

London National Film Theatre NFT1

Introduced by the filmmaker

Robert Beavers has created a body of work that aspires to impart ‘the serenity of a thought without words’. His careful choice of the site or locations for filming often displays a deep understanding of Greek landscape, culture and history or draws upon sources from the history of architecture. The physical actions or gestures of the filmmaker (or his human subject), the use of metaphorical imagery and the intricate arrangement of the soundtrack, fuse into a consummate film experience. In revising several of his earlier films by tightly editing the image and creating new soundtracks, Beavers has produced distilled works that are precisely balanced and meticulously composed. The correspondences of the images, shot over an extended time period and in diverse locations, are cut together to an invisible rhythm, intuitively measured against each other. The presence of the filmmaker, though not always visually evident, is felt through every composition, gesture and edit. There are few traces of narrative, rather each montage of image and sound conveys a feeling or thought in an innate and tacit manner. The films demand an openness and concentration, but despite their apparent formal rigour they retain an inherent humanity, communicated in the moment of projection. This single screening is an extremely rare opportunity to see works by a remarkable filmmaker who has not been shown in England for over 30 years. (Mark Webber)

Robert Beavers, Sotiros, 1977-96, 25 min
Robert Beavers, Amor, 1980, 15 min
Robert Beavers, The Hedge Theater, 2002, 19 min
Robert Beavers, The Ground, 2001, 20 min

“Beavers’ personal films occupy a noble place within the history of avant-garde film, positioned at the intersection of structural and lyrical film-making traditions. Exuding a sense of joy for the filmic medium, they seem to embody the ideals of the high Renaissance in their fascination with perception (both visual and aural), psychology, literature, the natural world, architectural construction, musical phrasing and aesthetic beauty. Perhaps this work’s greatest achievement is that it appears continually fresh, as timeless art should, both to the newcomer and to the fortunate viewer able to savour the richness of these films time and time again.” (Susan Oxtoby, Cinematheque Ontario / Toronto International Film Festival 1999)

“Robert Beavers has been making films since the late 1960s, yet screenings of his work are rare, and are always stringently supervised by the artist. Beavers’ meticulously composed films are influenced by the structural tradition of the Greek-American avant-garde filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos, his teacher and long-term partner. However, they stem from a more visceral, lyrical source. Each of his films is conceptually complex, carefully crafted and concise.” (Chrissie Iles, Whitney Museum of American Art / Whitney Biennale 2002)