home about the season about John Berger links

Film and Television Retrospective

14-30 April: A major presentation of John Berger’s work with the moving image

National Film Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1. Box office: 020 7928 3232; www.bfi.org.uk/nft

Tickets - members - £7.20/ £5.25; non-members - £8.20/ £6.25, Friday matinees £4.75; £4.25; non members £5.75; £5.25

Ways of Seeing Parts 1 & 2 + Drawn from Life
Thu 14 Apr 6.10 NFT2* Fri 22 Apr 6.00 NFT2
One of the most influential television series ever made, Ways of Seeing (BBC 1972/Dir Mike Dibb; 2x30 mins) revolutionised how art and advertising were perceived and read. Drawn from Life (Granada 1962/Dir Mike Wooller) tested art against experience through conversations with ‘ordinary people’ about the relation of paintings to their lives.Years ahead of its time. Total 116 mins.
*Introduction by Mike Dibb.

Ways of Seeing Parts 3 & 4 + 10,000 Days, 93,000 Hours,
33 Years of Effort + An Artist from Moscow

Thu 14 Apr 8.30 NFT2* Fri 22 Apr 8.20 NFT2
The concluding episodes (2x30 mins) in Berger’s path-breaking analysis of fine art. Plus two lyrical odes to idealism and resistance in art, made for landmark arts strand Monitor (BBC 1965 & 1969; 2x28 mins). Total 116 mins.
*Introduction by Mike Dibb. Joint ticket available £10.50, concs £8.25.

The Salamander
Fri 15 Apr 5.45 NFT2; Thu 21 Apr 8.30 NFT2
Switzerland 1971/Dir Alain Tanner. With Bulle Ogier, Jean-Luc Bideau, Jacques Denis, Véronique Alain. 129 mins. J-Cert 15. The first of three films Berger made with Swiss director Tanner. A teasing tale of social relations, subversive but never didactic.

The Middle of the World
Sat 16 Apr 3.00 NFT2 Mon 18 Apr 8.40 NFT2
Switzerland-France 1974/Dir Alain Tanner. With Olimpia Carlisi, Philippe Léotard, Juliet Berto. 117 mins. Charting an affair between a waitress and a married local politico, this is a deeply empathetic and quietly optimistic work.

Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000
Sat 16 Apr 6.00 NFT2 Wed 20 Apr 6.00 NFT2
Switzerland-France 1975/Dir Alain Tanner. With Jean-Luc Bideau, Rufus, Miou-Miou, Jacques Denis. 115 mins.
One of the most important films of its decade, Jonah… follows eight characters all affected by May 1968. An honest, humorous and movingly exploration of diverse attempts to reconcile life and ideals.

Pig Earth + Parting Shots from Animals
Sat 16 Apr 8.40 NFT3 Mon 25 Apr 6.10 NFT2*
Perhaps Berger’s finest TV essay, Pig Earth (Omnibus; BBC 1979/Dir Mike Dibb; 50 mins) is both praise song and threnody to peasant life. Parting Shots (Omnibus; BBC 1980/Dir Mike Dibb; 50 mins) looks at humans – and their growing solitary confinement – from the perspective of animals. Total 100 mins.
* Introduction by Mike Dibb.

About Time: Once Upon a Time + Crumbling Houses
+ 12 August 2002

Sun 17 Apr 2.50 NFT2
A deliriously vagrant episode from this important series (C4 1985/Dir Mike Dibb; 54 mins), that illuminates storytelling, art and time. Plus Gianni Celati’s lyrical essay on memory, history and the Po river valley. Plus 12 August 2002 (Belgium 2002/Dir Milena Trivier; 9 mins). The demolition of a tower prompts thoughts on the moment we’re living through. Total 114 mins.

Another Way of Telling: Views of Photography + I Send You This Cadmium Red
Mon 18 Apr 5.50 NFT2 Sun 24 Apr 5.40 NFT2*
An illuminating four part series (BBC 1989; 4x30 mins) on all aspects of the photographic image and its relation to experience. Plus a short meditation (UK 2002/Dir John Christie; 8 mins) on the implications of colour. Total 128 mins. *Introduction by John Christie.

John Berger and Geoff Dyer in Conversation
Tue 19 Apr 6.20 NFT1 Joint ticket available with Play Me Something (Tue 19 Apr only) £10.50, concs £8.25.

Play Me Something
Tue 19 Apr 8.20 NFT1* Sat 23 Apr 6.20 NFT2
UK 1989/Dir Timothy Neat. With JB, Lucia Lanzarini, Charlie Barron, Hamish Henderson, Tilda Swinton. 72 mins. J-Cert 15.
This little seen but widely admired meditation on people, places, love, politics, culture and the whole damn thing sees Berger in compelling performance mode as a storyteller. A poignant and resolutely independent British film.
*Introduction by Timothy Neat.
Special ticket offer with John Berger in Conversation.

Caught Between Culture and Commerce? Independent Film and Television in the UK and Beyond: a Panel Discussion
Tue 26 Apr 6.20 NFT2
With documentary maker Mike Dibb, critic Chris Darke, writer Colin MacCabe, director Sally Potter (tbc) and others to be confirmed. Moderated by co-editor of Vertigo magazine, Holly Aylett, and preceded by a screening of About Time (see above).

A Telling Eye: the Work of John Berger + Germinal
Wed 27 Apr 8.20 NFT2 Sat 30 Apr 6.20 NFT2*
This overview essay by Berger’s long-standing filmic collaborator (BBC 1994/Dir Mike Dibb; 60 mins) traces the diverse strands of Berger’s career, and includes tributes from Marina Warner, Geoff Dyer and Susan Sontag. Germinal (The Nineteenth Century Novel and Its Legacy; BBC 1983; 23 mins) sees Berger revisiting Zola’s 1872 social classic by descending a Derbyshire coalmine. Total 83 mins.
*Introduction by Mike Dibb.

The Spectre of Hope + John Berger in Conversation with Michael Ondaatje + His Name Is Tyler
Thu 28 Apr 5.50 NFT2 Fri 29 Apr 8.30 NFT2*
In The Spectre of Hope (Arena; BBC 2001/Dir Paul Carlin; 60 mins), Berger talks with Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado about his stunning humanitarian images. Plus Berger and novelist Michael Ondaatje on the nature and mystery of writing (USA 2003/The Lannan Foundation; 40 mins). Plus a short (C4 2001/Dir Paul Carlin; 3 mins) in which Berger reads from his work. Total 103 mins.
*Introduction by Paul Carlin.

The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol
Fri 29 Apr 5.20 NFT2 Sat 30 Apr 8.10 NFT2*
Previously unseen document of the enormously successful Complicite stage adaptation of Berger’s story about peasant life in Europe (UK 1995/Dir Mike Dibb; 120 mins). Plus a short Late Show (BBC 1995; 10 mins) item on the production. Total c130 mins.
*Introduction by Simon McBurney and members of the cast.