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From the archive

This film was last shown on 26 April 2016

Film (wr. Samuel Beckett, dir. Alan Schneider, 1965)
NOTFILM: A Kino-Essay (dir. Ross Lipman, 2015)

In 1936, aged 29, Samuel Beckett sent a letter to the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein asking to be considered ‘a serious cineaste worthy of admission’ to the Moscow State School of Cinematography. ‘I have no experience of studio work’, he confessed, ‘and it is naturally in the scenario and editing end of the subject that I am most interested.’ Beckett never made it to Moscow to study cinema. Nor is the author of The Unnamable and Waiting for Godot so often thought of as a filmmaker. Yet almost thirty years after his young flush of filmic enthusiasm, Beckett joined forces with director Alan Schneider and cinematographer Boris Kaufman – brother of Dziga Vertov – for the making of Film, a 22 minute black and white silent starring a creased and wizened Buster Keaton, slapstick screen legend of the 1920s. The richly experienced Keaton considered Film totally hopeless. For Beckett, of course, hopelessness was just the point. First released in 1965, Film has only now been fully restored, and is shown in this evening’s programme alongside NOTFILM, a new documentary essay by Ross Lipman exploring the story of Film’s production.

The evening’s screenings will accompanied be introductions and discussions by Adam Piette, Head of the School of English at the University of Sheffield, and Alice Honor Gavin, Lecturer in Fiction and Writing.


Ross Lipman, Samuel Beckett
195 mins
Buster Keaton


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