Robert Beavers (On Film And In Person)

Part of the NO SEASON

Director: Robert Beavers
Certificate: Not Rated
Format: 16mm
Language: Unknown
Country: Various

We're really excited to be presenting 3 films by the celebrated American filmmaker Robert Beavers. Beavers himself will be present to introduce his films and talk about his work.

Star and Shadow are thrilled to have the opportunity to host these screenings as, although Beavers is a seminal figure in recent film history, his works have perhaps been under-recognised and under-screened in the UK. As well as these screenings of Beavers' films being a regional first , Star and Shadow are very pleased that Beavers himself will travel to Newcastle to accompany his films.


Robert Beavers started making films in 1965, at the age of 16. Having moved to New York to pursue filmmaking, he left the burgeoning New American Cinema scene in 1967 to live in a variety of European locations with his partner, the filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos.

Beavers' films are meticulously crafted, careful responses to space and states, often taking in art history and architecture. His method of composition, which rarely involves seeing the film projected during the editing process, is both painstaking and intuitive. A skilled technician with regards the filmmaking process, Beavers often uses mattes and filters to delineate and demarcate space; both the space in front of the lens and the interstitial, mechanical spaces within the camera itself.

Robert Beavers' films have been shown at the Whitney, the Berkley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Centre Pompidou, and the New York, Toronto, Rotterdam, and London Film Festivals, among others. In 1999, he was honoured by the National Society of Film Critics. His films are in the Whitney's collection as well as those of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto; Cinematheque Royale de Belgique, Brussels; Musee du Louvre, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Osterreichisches Filmmuseum, Vienna. His work is preserved in the Temenos Archive in Zurich. Beavers currently lives and works in Zurich, Massachusetts, Berlin and Greece.


From the Notebook of… 

(1971/98, 48 minutes, 16mm, colour, optical sound)

Mark Webber writes:

'From the Notebook of…'is a point of convergence between the impulsive early works and the more considered manner of Beavers' mature films. It was inspired by the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (and writings by Giorgio Vasari and Paul Valery), and depicts Beavers' own filming notes, work room and creative process in relation to views of Leonardo's Florence and details of the Renaissance artist's life.

Beavers states:

"The starting point for 'From the Notebook of…' was complex. I began to prepare a film inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks and my reading of Paul Valéry's essays on Leonardo's creative method. My reading of Vasari's Leonardo biography led me to my first location: the scene of doves being set free from a shop next to the Bargello. The flight of doves is carried forward in the turning pages and juxtaposed to my opening of the window onto Florentine rooftops. Starting with the bird's wings and my turning pages, the sound develops through a variety of image/sound metaphors…I am an observer in these various locations, quickly gathering image and sound in darting movements then returning to my room and reflecting on the details, placing them within my notes. 

There is a graphic development of the film frame as page. I used the mattes to superimpose diverse elements of color, text, sound and image in one composition. The matte in front of the camera plays between the horizontal notebook and the vertical window, turning like a page or a window shutter."

The Stoas 

(1991-97, 22 min., 16mm, colour, optical sound)

The title refers to the colonnades that led to the shady groves of the ancient Lyceum, here remembered in shots of industrial arcades, bathed in golden morning light, as quietly empty of human figures as Atget's survey photos. The rest of the film presents luscious shots of a wooded stream and hazy glen, portrayed with the careful composition of 19thcentury landscape painting.

An ineffable, unnameable immanence flows through the images of The Stoas, a kind of presence of the human soul expressed through the sympathetic absence of the human figure. [Ed Halter, New York Press]

The Suppliant 

(2010, 5 minutes, 16mm, color, optical sound)


We're massively excited and feel very honoured to be welcoming Robert Beavers in our very own cinema. He will be present on the night to discuss his films to the audience. This is an extremely rare opportunity, not to be missed!

£5 / £3.50 (on the night)
Or buy advance tickets for £4.50 / £3  here: