9 user 9 critic

NOTFILM (2015)

Notfilm (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary | 1 April 2016 (USA)
A documentary inquiry into the strange but true collaboration of Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton.


Ross Lipman


Ross Lipman




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ross Lipman Ross Lipman ... Narrator (voice)
Kevin Brownlow Kevin Brownlow ... Self
Judith Douw Judith Douw ... Self
S.E. Gontarski S.E. Gontarski ... Self
James Karen ... Self
James Knowlson James Knowlson ... Self (as Jim Knowlson)
Leonard Maltin ... Self
Mark Nixon Mark Nixon ... Self
Barney Rosset Barney Rosset ... Self
Steve Schapiro ... Self
Jean Schneider Jean Schneider ... Self
Jeannette Seaver Jeannette Seaver ... Self
Haskell Wexler ... Self
Billie Whitelaw ... Self
Samuel Beckett ... Self (archive footage)


NOTFILM is a feature-length experimental essay on FILM -- its author Samuel Beckett, its star Buster Keaton, its production and its philosophical implications -- utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

making of | avant garde | See All (2) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Film Festival Screenings: (1) Hong Kong Film Festival (March 2016) (2) Film Society of Lincoln Centers' Film Comment Selects (February 2016) (3) BFI London Film Festival (4) International Film Festival Rotterdam (5) CPH: DOX (Copenhagen, Denmark). See more »


Features The Connection (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Highly Recommended Documentary About Film
19 April 2017 | by GeofbobSee all my reviews

Anybody interested in Samuel Beckett, Buster Keaton or simply literature and/or cinema will want to watch and possess this 2-disc set. Made by film restorer Ross Lipman, Notfilm is an extensive and intensive documentary about the production in 1964 New York of the short movie, Film, Beckett's only foray into the Seventh Art. Via a series of accidental, but seemingly fated, events, the mantle of leading and almost only actor in Film fell on the shoulders of Keaton, then poor in both funds and health. By a twist of irony straight out of Borges or Kafka, Keaton famous for his impassive face was required by Beckett's screenplay to keep that face out of shot for almost the entirety of the movie.

Lipman's documentary contains interviews with some of the principals of the 1964 production; archive material, including out-takes, and tapes of production meetings involving Beckett, director Alan Schneider and cinematographer Boris Kaufman; interviews with other relevant figures, especially actor James Karen who both appeared briefly in Film and had been instrumental in recruiting Keaton, actress Billie Whitelaw famed for her interpretations of Beckett's stage roles, and Beckett's biographer James Knowlson.

For me, two personal highlights of the DVDs are the sound of Beckett's rarely recorded voice in the production meeting tapes, higher pitched than one might have expected; and the interviews with a frail but still luminous Whitelaw. One sweetly sentimental postscript to the 1964 shoot was that it resulted in an acclaimed appearance by Keaton at the Cannes Film Festival, his first at such an event, and only a few months before his death.

Strictly speaking, one of the two discs is the actual documentary Notfilm; the other is bonus material; but both are of equal interest and essential viewing. The producer is Milestone Film & Video (who, in parallel have also issued a restored version of Film itself).

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Film Site





Release Date:

1 April 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

NOTFILM See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed