Monday, December 5, 2016

'The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger' DVD: Tilda Swinton's This British Life



Home of "innovative and provocative" documentaries Icarus Films offers adults a holiday treat regarding the Decemeber 6, 2106 DVD release of the 2016 film "The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger." The titular community is a small village in the French Alps where the titular Brit whom Icarus describes as a "prolific artist, philosopher, writer, storyteller and 'radical humanist'" has a home. As the title of "Seasons" indicates, the film consists of four films that are set in each of the four segments of the year. The theme of each aptly reflects the corresponding time of the year.

The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Seasons" nicely conveys the awesomeness of both Berger and the below-mentioned Swinton; it also provides a good sense of the theme of the film.



"Seasons" opens with  the "winter" segment titled "Ways of Listening." This one has national treasure British actress Tilda Swinton visiting this hero of hers. The conversation that Swinton and Berger have in his kitchen includes topics such as a shared birth date several years apart and the additional mutual experience of being the children of a combat veteran father with a consistent history of not discussing his wartime activities.

Two lighter segments respectively have Berger telling Swinton of  new way to eat an apple and this pair extricating a car from the snow.

The essay that Swinton writes for the booklet that accompanies the Icarus release shares her thoughts regarding making "Listening" and how that leads to producing "Seasons." The collaborators of Swinton express similar sentiments in their contributions to this booklet. These essayists include Berger, who devotes his space to an analysis of language. This brilliant piece touches on the writing process of this genuine auteur.

"Spring" continues the element of "cycles" that pervades "Seasons." We learn of a notable death and get a cute and entertaining introduction to the agricultural activities in Quincy. This includes a discussion of using different tones to verbally communicate with assorted species of farm animals and a tradition of recycling cow names.

The broad range and equally plentiful number of topics in the first two films and the other two include distinguishing hope from optimism and the lifestyle of migrant workers. "Harvest," which is a 'next generation" tale of the children of Swinton and the offspring of Berger vacationing together and sharing memories and observations about the cycle of life, aptly wraps up all this.

In the spirit of cycles that pervades "Seasons," this wrap-up of these thoughts regarding these thought (and discussion) provoking video essays on a fascinating man return to referring to the essay booklet of Swinton; she states that a desire to introduce the general public to Berger is a primary motive for her participation in "Seasons." On behalf of said global populace, I thank her.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Seasons" is encouraged to email me. You can also reach out on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.