ROBERT GARDNER: Artist/Ethnographer, a one-week retrospective of one of the world's leading ethnographic filmmakers, will run at Film Forum from Friday, November 11 through Thursday, November 17.
Robert Gardner's lyrical, poignant, sometimes achingly beautiful films are shot in the most remote parts of the world: Benares, Colombia, New Guinea, Niger, Eritrea, Ethiopia. A world-class director, producer, writer and cinematographer, he was founder of the Harvard Film Archive and founding director of the school's Film Study Center. During the 1970s, Gardner developed and hosted the Boston-based television series Screening Room, in which he interviewed independent filmmakers such as John Hubley, Jean Rouch, Ricky Leacock, and Robert Breer. As a filmmaker and teacher, he has had a major influence on several generations of documentarians.
For Gardner, the sensual red-gold of a garland of flowers thrown upon India's sacred waters is given as much respect as the rituals of battle and death encountered among New Guinea tribesmen. Life's ecstasies are embraced and exalted, its sorrows parsed and ruefully accepted. Our four programs span nearly half a century of movie-making, including Gardner's earliest major work (Dead Birds), his acknowledged masterpieces (Rivers of Sand; Forest of Bliss) and the New York theatrical premiere of a feature-length program of recently made short films (13 Forsaken Fragments, Still Journey On, and Deus Ex Boltanski).