TSP2016: The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger

The Seasons in Quincy: Fout Portraits of John Berger. Bartek Dziadosz. 2016.

This is a documentary film in four parts (with four different directors) produced by The Derek Jarman Lab.

I know nothing about John Berger (but I’ve probably seen a couple of films based on his… work?), and this is not a film that makes any attempt at contextualising him. Instead the first (and longest) bit, written by Tilda Swinton features herself talking to Berger as an old friend, telling vague anecdotes and sitting around his kitchen.

Still, even if I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time, I was kinda fascinated.

The second bit was supposed to feature Berger, but his wife died just before they arrived, so they filmed some nearby farms instead and had Swinton (I think) recite some Berger texts over. It’s great!

The third bit is a straight-up debate about neoliberalism interspersed with footage from the countryside. And some more texts. It’s nice.

And the last bit is the most sumptuous one. They got a helicopter in and did a lot of aerial shots of Khan-cee. And you get to hear Berger more, and he sounds interesting. Then the film follows his son for a bit, and then there’s a long sequence where they harvest some raspberries.

It’s really good.

Oh! The last bit is directed by Tilda Swinton!

She should direct more stuff.

Anyway, perhaps I should pick up a Berger book or two.

This post is part of The Tilda Swinton Project.

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