In association with the festival Cinema du Reel, the film department of the Centre Pompidou pays a tribute to Robert Gardner from March 19th to March 28th. Anthropologist and filmmaker, founder of the Film Study Center at Harvard University, Robert Gardner is the author of a singular oeuvre, dedicated to distant societies – from the Dani's tribe of New Guinea (Dead Birds, 1964) to the Ika Indians of Colombia (Ika Hands, 1988) or the Hamar in Ethiopia (River of Sand, 1973) - as well as portraits of contemporary artists (such as Mark Tobey and Sean Scully). Started with Dead Birds, a poetic ethnography of a warrior society, the work of Gardner attempts a progressive disappearance of the verbal language and marks a rejection of any kind of interpretation. A configuration that he achieved sumptuously in his film Forest of Bliss (1986), an experimental and sensory visual essay on the funeral rites of the city of Varanasi in India.
On this journey towards a more sensitive than didactic cinema, the Screening Room, a TV program produced by Gardner between 1972 and 1981, offers a new reading key. Weekly broadcasted after midnight, the Screening Room, as Gardner explained with humor during a discussion with the New York based filmmaker Peter Hutton, wants to be "the answer to the Boston insomniacs." Beyond the line of humor, Gardner opens a new space dedicated to independent cinema in the American media landscape. He received Robert Breer and Les Blank, Derek Lamb and Emile de Antonio, Hollis Frampton and Richard Leacock, Jonas Mekas and Yvonne Rainer, Alan Lomax and Michael Snow, and even Jean Rouch. Taking advantage of broadcasting, when it’s possible, the works in their integrities, Gardner shows in 1973 Water Baby Moving Windows (1959) by Brakhage, and Les Maîtres Fous (1954) by Rouch in 1981. However that Gardner has been working directly with some these filmmakers - like Robert Fulton and Hilary Harris – or that he simply admired their works, the Screening Room draws an intimate geography of his cinephily and founded an invaluable archive for an invisible cinema.
The Screening Room's episodes are presented in the Museum's FORUM, Free admission, from March 19th to March 29th.
March 19th : Emile De Antonio – John Whitney Sr. – Derek Lamb – Standish Lawder et Stanley Cavell
March 20th : Jan Lenica – Stan Brakhage – Les Blank – Hilary Harris
March 21st : Richard P. Rogers – Robert Fulton – Bruce Baillie – Ed Emschwiller
March 22nd : John et Faith Hubley – Alan Lomax – Hollis Frampton – Ricky Leacock
March 23th : Robert Breer – Caroline Leaf et Mary Beams – Suzan Pitt – Derek Lamb
March 25th : Jonas Mekas – Robert Fulton – George Griffin – James Broughton
March 26th : Peter Hutton – Jean Rouch – Stan Brakhage – Yvonne Rainer
March 27th : Hollis Frampton – Standish Lawder et Stanley Cavell – Hilary Harris – Michael Snow
March 28th : Les Blank – Jonas Mekas – Ricky Leacock – Jean Rouch
Thanks to : Adele Pressman, Frank Aveni (Documentary Educational Resources), Alice Leroy.