1965, 22 min, 35mm-to-digital, b&w
Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funded through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by the Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Laboratory services by Cinetech, Ascent Media, NT Picture and Sound, Dolby Laboratories, and Audio Mechanics.
Samuel Beckett, the celebrated author of WAITING FOR GODOT, made a single work for projected cinema. It’s in essence a chase film, the craziest ever committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies itself. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflexive masterpiece MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA. Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, FILM is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent, and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers.