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What Is Cinema?

USA | 2013 | 83 minutes | Chuck Workman

If cinema is a language, then Chuck Workman has tapped its most inspired poets in this rhapsodic deliberation on the purity, grace and potential of the moving image. Interviews with filmmakers from Kurosawa to Lynch pursue the question.

June 1, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
2:00 PM Date has passed
June 4, 2014
xHarvard Exit  
6:30 PM Date has passed
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Workman has a hundred different answers to his film’s titular question, some implied in the marvelous clips he’s compiled. He’s transfixed by directors who approach their cinematic tool kit “in ways that Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright or Chekhov might have used their art form’s tools, often breaking the rules, or inventing new ones, asking the audience to look harder, listen more closely, think about the form of the work as much as the content.” More answers are explicitly stated by some of the greatest practitioners the form has known, including (in archival interviews) Hitchcock, Kurosawa, and Bresson, as well as some of today’s finest directors such as David Lynch, Mike Leigh, Kelly Reichardt, and Michael Moore. Best known for the montage sequences he’s compiled for the Academy Awards® for the past two decades, Workman proves to have a more eclectic and avant-garde sensibility than you might expect, counting Jonas Mekas and Ken Jacobs among his personal pantheon.

Director Biography

Writer, director, and producer Chuck Workman has received numerous Emmy Nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Short Live Action Film for Precious Images in 1986. He was formerly the president of the International Documentary Association and the Commissioner of the Santa Monica Arts Commission. He is currently a member of the Grants Committee of the Motion Picture Academy and the Distinguished Artist and Coordinator of the Film Program at Purchase College in New York.

Sponsored by IATSE Local 488, The Art Institute of Seattle

Director: Chuck Workman
Principal Cast: David Lynch, Mike Leigh, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer
Country: USA
Year: 2013
Running Time: 83 minutes
Producer: Charles Cohen
Cinematographers: John Sharaf, Tom Hurwitz
Editors: Chuck Workman
Music: Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota, Philip Glass, Ennio Morricone
Filmography: Visionaries (Doc, 2010); Jonas Mekas and the (Mostly) American Avant-Garde Cinema (Doc, 2009); A Kiss at Kerouac's Grave (2004); A House on a Hill (2003) ; Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (Doc, 1990); Stoogemania (1986); Cuba Crossing (1980); Atlantic City Jackpot (1976)
Language: English
Format: DCP
US Distributor: Cohen Media Group
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