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Film (1965)

 -  Short | Drama  -  8 January 1966 (USA)
7.5
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A twenty-minute, almost totally silent film (no dialogue or music one 'shhh!') in which Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around ... See full summary »

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Title: Film (1965)

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Storyline

A twenty-minute, almost totally silent film (no dialogue or music one 'shhh!') in which Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around Bishop Berkeley's principle 'esse est percipi' (to be is to be perceived), Keaton's very existence conspires against his efforts Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Short | Drama

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8 January 1966 (USA)  »

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Samuel Beckett's Film  »

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The story of making "Film" was the basis of a play "The Stone Face" by Sherry MacDonald. The play was read in Orlando at the 2006 New Playfest, and work shopped at the 2007 New Playfest. See more »

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Version of Film (A Screen Play by Samuel Beckett) (1979) See more »

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Beckett's unique vision
21 December 2001 | by (Astoria, NY) – See all my reviews

Samuel Beckett's only film--appropriately titled Film--is a short (26 minutes) near-silent piece. Because of that, and because the work invokes the feel of the silent era, albeit in Beckett's peculiar way, it's perfectly fitting that Beckett chose Buster Keaton as the main character (for almost the entire film, the only character). The black-and-white photography, the old furniture, and the peculiar garments of the just-as-old apartment building's tenants all contribute to the mise-en-scene that harkens back to a time when automobiles had only been around for about 20 or 30 years.

There's a perfect link of Beckett's intense focus on the self with Keaton's now-wizened features. When the screen is filled with Keaton's eye alone, you can see the wrinkles surrounding it; you can tell Beckett has more in mind than just doing a close-up. As Keaton arranges and rearranges the things in his sparse living quarters, and goes through pictures of himself, often hiding from the camera, you begin to see what's going on: is he, the character, only who he sees in the mirror, and in pictures, or is he other than that?

For this emphasis on the solipsistic, the length of Film is perfect. Any longer and it could have been a bit tedious. But Keaton lends it a few touches of his by now archetypal humor--wholly improvised--which Beckett found delightful, and Alan Schneider, the director, applauded. This is a unique work that any serious student of film should have in her/his library. It was formerly included in a VHS collection of Keaton's work but now, alas, does not seem to be available any longer.


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