Posted Thu Jan 26, 2017 at 06:00 AM PST by Tom Landy
Both films will be available on Blu-ray in March.
'Film' by Samuel Beckett, the great playwright's only venture into the medium of the cinema, was written in 1963 and filmed in New York City in the summer of 1964. The project brought together an illustrious group of collaborators: screenwriter (and future Nobel laureate) Beckett traveled from Paris at the behest of the producer, publisher, and First Amendment champion Barney Rosset joining forces with theater director Alan Schneider, Oscar-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, and silent-comedy genius, Buster Keaton. Acclaimed film editor Sidney Meyers added his talents to the film in post-production. The product of their efforts, 'Film' by Samuel Beckett, has no dialogue and takes as its basis philosopher George Berkeley's theory Esse est percipi to be is to be perceived. In essence, after all outside perception be it animal, human, or divine is suppressed, self-perception remains.
'Film' by Samuel Beckett premiered at the 1965 New York Film Festival and went on to win many international awards. Critics, literary scholars, and audiences have continued to be dazzled and intrigued by the film. Mark Nixon of the Beckett International Foundation calls 'Film' by Samuel Beckett an intriguing and vital document in Samuel Beckett's life-long engagement and fascination with perception, and the image.
Restorationist Ross Lipman worked with Rosset to preserve and digitize Film by Samuel Beckett on behalf of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and was inspired to make a documentary Notfilm (2015), exploring the creation and meaning of this fascinating cinema treasure.
Special features include: Waiting for Godot, 1961, 104 minutes. Written by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Alan Schneider for Play of the Week. Starring Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith. Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive; and The Dog and Cat Outtakes from Film by Samuel Beckett. 8 minutes.
'Notfilm' is Ross Lipman's acclaimed kino-essay on the making and meaning of 'Film' by Samuel Beckett. Unlike any other film for its in-depth, mesmerizing analysis of one short film, it has been acclaimed by critics and audiences everywhere. Lipman's obsession with 'Film' began when, as a teenaged cinephile, he first learned that Irish Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett had written a short that starred silent film genius Buster Keaton. Decades later, Lipman, now an accomplished film restorationist, jumped at the chance to preserve 'Film' and to meet and talk with the extraordinary man who produced it, maverick publisher and First Amendment champion Barney Rosset. During a visit to Rosset's NYC loft, Lipman asked if there was any extra footage from the 1964 shoot. The reels that he discovered under the sink in the publisher's kitchen started Lipman on the long road from 'Film' to 'Notfilm.'
For more than seven years he traveled the world interviewing friends, family, and collaborators including Beckett's biographer James Knowlson, film historian Kevin Brownlow, actress Billie Whitelaw, Keaton's friend (and actor in 'Film') James Karen, and writer Leonard Maltin who visited the set as a star-struck 14-year-old Buster fan. Lipman's long fascination and tireless efforts have resulted in 'Notfilm', a film exploration that is mesmerizing, entertaining and timeless.
Special features include: The Street Scene: A Lost Scene Reconstruction from the Film Outtakes (6 mins); What if E's eyes were closed? Audio Recordings of Beckett, Kaufman, Rosset and Schneider (7 mins, with English captioning); Buster Keaton and Film: James Karen in Conversation (42 mins); Memories of Samuel Beckett: An Afternoon with James Knowlson (8 mins); Jean Schneider: Memories of Alan Schneider (11 mins); Jeannette Seaver: Beckett and Godot (4 mins); Photographing Film Photographing Beckett: Steve Schapiro and I.C. Rapoport in conversation (7 mins); Photo Gallery; and The Music of Notfilm: Downloadable MP3 Recordings by Mihály Víg.
You can find the latest specs for 'Film' and 'Notfilm' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed under March 7.
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