Robert Gardner (shorts before the features @ MoMI)

Robert Gardner’s lyrical, poignant, sometimes achingly beautiful films, shot in the most remote parts of the world, are among cinema’s greatest ethnographic achievements. As director, producer, writer and cinematographer (as well as founder of the Harvard Film Archive and Film Study Center), he’s had a major influence on generations of documentarians. For Gardner, the sensual red-gold of a garland of flowers thrown upon India’s sacred waters is given as much respect as the rituals of battle and death encountered among New Guinea tribesmen. Life’s ecstasies are embraced and exalted, its sorrows parsed and ruefully accepted. (from Film Forum retrospective)
While known for his feature-length docs such as “Forest of Bliss” & “Deep Hearts”, Rural Route is proud to present selections from Gardner’s recent collection of uncompleted works, “13 Forsaken Fragments”, before each of our programs at MoMI.

“Gardner is at once the establishment Gauguin and the avant-garde Indiana Jones.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice

It Could be Good, It Could be Bad
6min. 1997/2011. Chilean Andes. before “Baraka” 70mm Aug. 3 @7pm
A breathtaking flight over the Chilean Patagonian Andes in a small craft piloted by filmmaker Robert Fulton.

Life Keeps on Passing
4.5 min. 1985/2011. Benares (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh, India. before “Khalti Doka Varti Paay (Upside Down)” Aug. 4 @2pm
One of Gardner’s instincts while shooting for his masterpiece, “Forest of Bliss”, was to see and hear what poets had to say about their surroundings. These scenes work as an old-world Hindu music video, recounting some of their thoughts, floating down the River Ganges.  

Old Lady 
3.5min. 1958/2011. Namibia.  before The First Season Aug. 4 @5pm
A wrinkled, ashen-faced old woman asleep in the sands of the Kalahari Desert.

Hauling Sharks
9.5min. 1968/2011. Shores of the Red Sea, Ethiopia (Eritrea).before “Kā tev klājas (How are You Doing), Rūdolf Ming?” Aug. 5 @2pm
The coastal Danakil tribe in Northeastern Ethiopia (present-day Eritrea) discovered an environmentally suitable way of life-netting sharks far out at sea, to then export to south Arabian states.

2.5min. 1968/2011. Dallol, Ethiopia.  before “Now, Forager” Aug. 5 @ 4:30pm
One of Gardner’s filmic interests in Ethiopia was to see and film the salt trade between the Highlands and the Dallol Depression, a wondrous environment of unbearable heat and intense color. He managed a start only and these are the bits that emerged.