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In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter (2014)

Saul Leiter could have been lauded as the great the pioneer of color photography, but was never driven by the lure of success. Instead he preferred to drink coffee and photograph in his own... See full summary »

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Saul Leiter could have been lauded as the great the pioneer of color photography, but was never driven by the lure of success. Instead he preferred to drink coffee and photograph in his own way, amassing an archive of beautiful work that is now piled high in his New York apartment. An intimate and personal film, In No Great Hurry follows Saul as he deals with the triple burden of clearing an apartment full of memories, becoming world famous in his 80s and fending off a pesky filmmaker. Written by Tomas Leach

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5 December 2015 (Japan)  »

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$6,100 (USA) (3 January 2014)

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$6,100 (USA) (3 January 2014)
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Thirteen kinds of comment
30 June 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

* Contains spoilers *

I had not expected simply to enjoy Tomas Leach's documentary so much.

These comments are a snapshot why – if they speak to you at all, I hope that you will see this film :

1. Leiter has a cat – the cat was deliberately incorporated into the film (although not introduced), as if to say something about him, e.g. when comically spread on its back with its paws in the air

2. The stills that we were shown, full screen against black, were very, very effective, very beautiful

3. We were shown Leiter taking photographs, but the temptation was resisted to show us what he took, although he did show us – on the preview screen of his camera – the brilliant shots that he captured of the knees of the girls on the bench

4. We were treated as if this were a feature, and who Soames (Bantry) was, and what she meant to Leiter, was carefully revealed

5. There was a candid provisionality in the shooting as to whether Leiter would approve and allow what we knew that we were watching (and therefore that he must have done)

6. Leiter is an immense trickster, with an unfailing comic timing, which put the largely impeccable Woody Allen in relief

7. We were allowed to watch, but not to forget that we were watching with a licence, with permission – that mattered, and counted

8. The slightly off-putting – because seeming pretentious – sub-title about lessons in life just meant that the film was delicately punctuated by thirteen innocuous captions, often after a moment that had made my companion and me roar aloud

9. This was a better portrait than of Morten Lauridsen (Shining Night (2012)), because Leiter's humour was infectious, his candour and humanity to the forefront

10. At the same time, Leiter's putting things off, of piling things up, of not throwing things away, was a greater treasure, and he was noble and honest in revealing how such things defeat him, if he starts on a clear-out

11. And all those photographs, those boxes, those contact-sheets – the integrity of keeping on creating, but the immensity of the task of seeking to order it all

12. That inchoate state mirrored Leiter's willingness to be filmed as incoherent, to start a sentence that he could not finish, or which he interrupted to death

13. Finally, just his photographs again, those aching pictures of his father, his mother, of Soames, with a different intensity from his equally wonderful fashion portraits

Thank you, Tomas and Saul !


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