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Letters Not About Love

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Two contemporary poets, one from America (Lyn Hejinian), the other from Russia (Arkadii Dragomoshchenko) are asked to begin a correspondence based on a list of ordinary words such as 'home,' 'book,' 'poverty,' 'violence.' They reflect on each word, considering its conventional meaning and what it means to them personally.

The resulting extraordinary five-year dialogue is by turns poignant, profound and funny. Both poets move seamlessly from present to past, a move echoed by the use of striking new and archival footage from both countries. Narrative, travelogue, and memoir are combined in a fusion of image, sound and word that is a total sensual experience. As the film progresses and intimacy grows, both the similarities and differences between Russian and American ways of grasping the world are revealed. Letters Not About Love becomes both a revealing portrait of two cultures and a compelling exploration of language, communication, and the art of mutual understanding.
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License Period:  5 years
Running Time:  59:05
Video Resolution:  Appropriate for small screens and projection
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License Period:  14 days (beginning at time of purchase)
Running Time:  59:05
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License Period:  3 days (beginning at time of purchase)
Running Time:  59:05
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"The film is a history lesson, a social studies tract, a poetry workshop...libraries, high schools and universities would do well to challenge viewers with this absorbing, insightful and demanding film. Highly recommended."
Vivienne L. Lipsitz, Director of Media Services
Port Washington Public Library

"Hejinian and Dragomoshchenko engage in an exemplary cross-cultural of the most significant poetry-related films of our time, and one that would make an excellent choice for showing as part of courses in creative writing, poetry, or poetics."
Charles Bernstein, David Gray Professor Poetry and Letters
SUNY Buffalo

"A powerful representation of the potential of art simultaneously to respect difference and to bridge it..."
Andrew Wachtel, Pearce Miller Research Professor in Literature
Chair, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Northwestern University

"The delicate merging of private maps - home, grandmother, local weather - in this intimate and formal correspondence of two poets, one in America, one in Russia. A beautiful and moving film."
Michael Ondaatje
poet/author of "The English Patient"

"Rich in texture, detail and visual nuance, this film's passionate attention to material culture and environment offers inspiring cinematic poetry and techniques for students of Visual Anthropology."
Peter Beilla, Professor of Visual Anthropology
San Francisco State University

"By the end of this short, 60-minute film, a deep intimacy has been established - between the poets, between their cultures, and between film and audience."
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"..a rare embrace of the political and the personal...It is a true and literal fusion of cinema and poetry."
Austin Chronicle

AWARDS / SCREENINGS (partial list)

Best Documentary Feature, South by Southwest Film Festival
Special Award for Cinematic Poetry, American Anthropological Association Film Festival INPUT '99 Selection, XXII Int'l. Public TV Screening Conference
Gold Apple Award, National Educational Media Network
International DOCumentary Association's October Film Festival
Dziga Vertov Visionary Artist Award, Huntington International Film Festival
Denver International Film Festival
Hamptons International Film Festival
Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival, England
Viennale, Vienna International Film Festival
Museum of Modern Art, New York

Jacki Ochs Jacki Ochs' film work includes both experimental and documentary genres, which have been broadcast worldwide. Her film Vietnam: The Secret Agent about the chemical Agent Orange received many awards including the John Grierson Award for Best New Director from the American Film Festival, Special Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival and a premiere at the New York Film Festival. Other awards she has received include a NYFA Fellowship, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships and the Guggenheim Fellowship. Articles about Jacki's work have appeared in many major US news and film publications including the New York Times, LA Times, Plain Dealer, Film Comment, Cineaste, International Documentary Magazine.Jacki Ochs has been Executive Director of the Human Arts Association, a not for profit arts foundation, since 1976. The foundation has produced music, dance and multimedia productions as well as sponsoring many film productions. In addition she has taught documentary film production at SUNY Purchase and at Pratt Institute.Recently Jacki was Executive Producer for award winning film Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, released Fall 2005, and produced 9/12: From Community to Chaos in 2006. In 2007 her film Vietnam: The Secret Agent received a NYWIFT preservation grant. It will be re-released on DVD in Fall 2010.

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