Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel With the World
UCLA Festival of Preservation
(Shirley Clarke, Robert Hughes, USA, 35mm, 1963, 51 min)
Part of our Folk Heroes Double Feature!
Wednesday, Nov 13 at 09:00PM
Shirley Clarke's Academy-Award-winning portrait of Robert Frost is a film that sprang from the root of a surprising friendship between the director and poet, two of the 20th century's most celebrated nonconformists. Filmed in the year before Frost's death, the film reveals a man who, despite resisting definition as romantic or modernist, carved a foothold in American poetry that would immortalize his work.
Shirley Clarke's powerfully human Frost is depicted through intercut footage of the poet out in the worldspeaking to students, touring a naval vessel, delivering a talk at Sarah Lawrence Collegeand scenes of his purposeful, solitary puttering around the house and grounds of his rural home in Ripton, Vermont. Clarke captures the rhythmic flow of the poet's life, from gathering up calm to vibrant engagement.
Ever one to challenge convention, Clarke allows her subject to comment on her approach. Speaking to his audience at Sarah Lawrence, Frost indicates to the cameras on stage with him: "What you're seeing here, this sideshow, this is a documentary film going onbut it is a false picture that presents me as always digging potatoes or saying my own poems." The audience bursts out laughing, caught up in the whimsical spell that the 88-year-old literary giant casts on everyone he encounters, including Clarke.
Preservation funding for Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel With The World provided by the Packard Humanities Institute and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Northwest Film Forum (View)
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Seattle, WA 98122