FOR YAMAGATA

I'm going to say it in an extreme way--for discussion, at least to think about it. I am afraid that we are getting weary of this planet. We are using it up, its resources and its wonder. And as we humans are more separate from, and dominant over all other living things, we are driven to find ever higher levels of diversion and stimulation. We are inseperable from our technology. It has become an extension of our nervous system. We depend on that technology to project us into a new world, a fresh new world where everything still remains to be done and discovered. Or we are dependent on that technology to actually get us off this planet Earth and out there, away, on the road again! Surely I simplify. But a feeling in us is: there are too many of us, we have made a mess, it is doubtful that we can learn less destructive, less competitive, communal ways. And the unchanged habits of the predator, or our genes working to assure their own survival, compell us to move on, to seek out the next fertile area that we can successfully occupy and use according to our whims, and with all our fragile justifications. The connection with film in general and documentary in particular? Cinema--not "the movies," or "the image," or "television,"--but cinema, this specific project, this discipline, this practise of a certain investigation, analysis and representation of ideas, cinema belongs to the material world. It is about where we are standing now. It is about the pleasures and problems of here. It is always about this world and our bodies moving through this world. Cinema, and especially the documentary, affirm not only our inseperability from eachother, but also from a whole web of relationships with objects and other living things. The irony is, that even as the image increasingly stands in the way of a real contact with things as they are, as image-spectacles mirror the very world-weariness I am talking about here, the right film at the right time gives us one of the few ways we have of staying in touch with what is really around us, and to recall why it is important to remain in touch. One result of such experiences is to help restore communicability between us and the world around us.

 

  Robert Kramer
Paris, France
07/98

 

 

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