Tate Modern: Margaret Tait April 15th

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Margaret Tait - Garden Pieces (1998)

Margaret Tait
Wednesday 15 April 2009, 18.30

This special programme marks ten years since the death of acclaimed Scottish filmmaker Margaret Tait (1918-1999) and brings together her first film made on her native Orkney, A Portrait of Ga (1952) and her last film also made on Orkney, Garden Pieces (1998). Also featured is one of her rarely screened longer works, On The Mountain (1974) which has at its centre the changes to Rose Street, Edinburgh where she had a base for many years and features within it her earlier film Rose Street (1956). Happy Bees (1955) filmed from child height is of her nieces and nephews.

The programme opens with a fleeting image of Margaret herself filmed in 1995 by the visiting filmmaker Ute Aurand. In The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo (1955) she matches images to her own reading of the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. To resonate with these works a selection of Margaret Tait's poems will be read by the writer Ali Smith.

'A writer whose openness of mind, voice and structure all come from the Beats maybe, and Whitman crossed with MacDiarmid, but then cut their own original (and crucially female) path. A unique and underrated filmmaker, nobody like her. Born of the Italian neo-realists, formed of her own Scottish pragmatism, optimism, generosity and experimental spirit, and a clear forerunner of the English experimental directors of the late twentieth century. A clear example of, and pioneer of, the poetic tradition, the experimental tradition, the democratic tradition, in the best of risk-taking Scottish cinema.' Ali Smith.

Introduced by Gareth Evans.