Sunday, September 21
Robert Gardner’s Forest of Bliss
This programs plays tribute to the recent passing of the highly influential ethnographic filmmaker, Robert Gardner. Forest of Bliss is an unsparing yet redemptive account of the poignant range of joy, religious passion and grief and that punctuates daily life in Benares, India’s most holy city. The film unfolds from one sunrise to the next without commentary, subtitles or dialogue. It is an attempt to give the viewer a wholly authentic, though greatly magnified and concentrated, sense of participation in the experiences examined by the film. Indeed, Gardner’s unique approach to documentary filmmaking places this film on the divide between ethnographic filmmaking and the more personal cinematic style whose goals are closer to literature or poetry.