“Everything that surrounds us becomes part of us.” Fernando Pessoa
A lot of deep thinking goes on when you turn 50. Around the time that filmmaker Lynne Sachs celebrated a half-century on this earth, she decided to gather together other people, men and women who had lived through precisely the same years but came from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where she had grown up. After a year of searching for just the right combination of participants, Sachs invited 12 fellow New Yorkers -- born across several continents in the early 1960s -- to spend a weekend with her making a movie. She included a few good friends and the rest were total strangers. Together they talked about some of the most salient, strange or ultimately revealing moments of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive examination of the way in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are and how we perceive the world. As director and participant Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. She gives each person the same historical timeline as a catalyst for an exploration of the relationship between their personal lives and the times in which they have lived. Strangers initially with nothing in common but their age, the group works together in front of the camera writing, performing and filming. Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, Sachs’ project becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. In the dreamscape of her movie, each participant embraces shards of the past, knowing that his or her connection to a historical moment may be tenuous but allowing for that ambiguity and mystery. In this way, traditional timelines are replaced by a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression.
Directed by Lynne Sachs
Cinematography by Sean Hanley
Editing by Amanda Katz
Music and Sound Design by Stephen Vitiello
Featuring: Dominga Alvarado, Mark Cohen, Sholeh Dalai, Andrea Kannapell, Sarah Markgraf, Shira Nayman, George Sanchez, Adam Schartoff, Erik Schurink, Accra Shepp, Sue Simon, Jim Supanick