Films by Robert Beavers

The films of Robert Beavers, praised by critics Ken Kelman and P. Adams Sitney for their “lapidary quality,” have been shown throughout North America and Europe, but never in Chicago—so this screening is not just welcome but overdue. Like his late companion, Gregory J. Markopoulos, Beavers is one of the great purists of cinema, building his scenes and sequences with the exactitude of a master artisan; every shot seems timed and composed the only possible way it could have been. The 48-minute From the Notebook of . . . (1999) rhythmically juxtaposes images of Florence, the artist, and pages from his handwritten journal, sometimes on a symmetrically divided screen. The delicate balance of image and text calls to mind the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci—one of the film's inspirations—and the mix of sensual passion and scientific rationalism that characterized the Florentine Renaissance. Also showing: Work Done (1999), and The Ground (2001), in which intercut images of a landscape, a ruined tower, and a nude man chiseling stone refer metaphorically to the filmmaking process and the origins of human culture. 88 min.

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