Appropriate for: College/University
Letters Not About Loveby Jacki Ochs
A gripping exploration of language, culture, and communication as seen through the dynamic exchange of letters between a Russian and American poet.
Two contemporary poets, one from America (Lyn Hejinian), the other from Russia (Arkadii Dragomoshchenko) are asked to begin a correspondence based on a list of ordinary words such as 'home,' 'book,' 'poverty,' 'violence.' They reflect on each word, considering its conventional meaning and what it means to them personally. The resulting extraordinary five-year dialogue is by turns poignant, profound and funny. Both poets move seamlessly from present to past, a move echoed by the use of striking new and archival footage from both countries. As the film progresses and intimacy grows, both the similarities and differences between Russian and American ways of grasping the world are revealed. Letters Not About Love becomes both a fascinating portrait of two cultures and a compelling expression of the art of mutual understanding.
..a rare embrace of the political and the personal...It is a true and literal fusion of cinema and poetry.
The film is a history lesson, a social studies tract, a poetry workshop...libraries, high schools and universities would do well to challenge viewers with this absorbing, insightful and demanding film. Highly recommended.
Vivienne L. Lipsitz, Director of Media Services
Port Washington Public Library
Hejinian and Dragomoshchenko engage in an exemplary cross-cultural dialogue...one of the most significant poetry-related films of our time, and one that would make an excellent choice for showing as part of courses in creative writing, poetry, or poetics.
Charles Bernstein, D.T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
A powerful representation of the potential of art simultaneously to respect difference and to bridge it...
Pearce Miller Research Professor in Literature
Chair, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures
The delicate merging of private maps - home, grandmother, local weather - in this intimate and formal correspondence of two poets, one in America, one in Russia. A beautiful and moving film.
poet/author of "The English Patient"
AWARDS & SCREENINGS:
- Special Award for Cinematic Poetry, American Anthropological Association Film Festival INPUT '99 Selection, XXII Int'l.
- Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival, England
- Hamptons International Film Festival
- Denver International Film Festival
- Dziga Vertov Visionary Artist Award, Huntington International Independent Film Festival
- International DOCumentary Association's October Film Festival
- Best Documentary Feature, South by Southwest Film Festival
- Gold Apple Award, National Educational Media Network
- INPUT '99 Selection, XXII Int'l. Public TV Screening Conference
- Viennale, Vienna International Film Festival
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