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Politics is everywhere

Speaking and Listening

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Politics is everywhere

Many years ago I came to Chicago with THRILLER. Ruby Rich was the first critic to write a serious piece about the film in what was, for me, a relatively mainstream newspaper (I think it was called the ‘Chicago Reader’). It was my first big review, and a beautiful piece of writing. I really felt my life change subtly at that moment. When a critic really ‘sees’ the work, something can relax. One can let go. In writing eloquently about a film, good critics make it their own, and the audience follows, enriched by their guidance.

Ruby took me to the Chicago Art Institute, to do a Q&A. The legendary avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage was there and we had a nicely fiery public exchange about politics and film, if I recall, with me saying, more-or-less, that politics was everywhere, and it was better to embrace that fact than to turn away from it. Which was not to say that as filmmakers we had to become pamphleteers, far from it, but that nothing was neutral.
As a shy teenager I had watched many of his films at the ‘Arts Laboratory’ as it was then called, in London, soaking up his extraordinarily lyrical and inventive camerawork. My teenage years were seeped in the rigours of the avant-garde. An excellent education.

Read Art Director Jim Haynes’ account of the Arts Lab

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Ruby Rich

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Chick Flicks

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Stan Brakhage

Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated