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October 12

An Evening with Ben Rivers

The films of Ben Rivers (b. 1972) explore a world at the far fringe of civilization – a place of ragged, strange beauty where inventors, seers and eccentric philosophers live in zealous communion with nature. Rivers’ best known works remain his series of lyrical portrait films that intimately engage and observe lives detached from the metronomic rhythm of the working week world – the Darwinian theorist hermit in The Origin of the Species (2008), the untamed youth in Ah, Liberty! (2008), the anonymous pilgrims in The Coming Race (2005). Pointing back to the tradition of poetic ethnography that flourished in Great Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, Rivers’ films are imbued with a vivid sense of place that captures the mysterious aura of the nether regions, principally in the British Isles, that inspire his work. At the same time Rivers is also – and perhaps above all – an experimental filmmaker, an artist working within a mode of rigorously hand-crafted cinema and inventively using almost obsolete hand-processing techniques and technologies such as 16mm cinemascope. In films such as The Coming Race, Human Rites (2009), We the People and his recent longer work, Ikwig (2009), Rivers crafts exquisite and elusive imagery into wonderfully enigmatic and almost trance-like narratives that alternately engage themes of his documentary work such as the “primitive” as a misunderstood mirror image of the “civilized” and the secret rhythms that define a community.

The Harvard Film Archive is proud to welcome Ben Rivers for his first visit to the Boston area.

Special thanks: The Academy Foundation.

Special Event Tickets $12
Monday October 12 at 7pm

The Coming Race

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2005, 16mm, b/w, 5 min.

May Tomorrow Shine the Brightest of All Your Days Because It Could Be Your Last

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2009, 16mm, b/w, 14 min.

We the People

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2004, 16mm, b/w, 1 min.

Origin of the Species

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2008, 16mm, color, 15 min.

Ah Liberty!

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2008, 16mm, b/w, scope 19 min.

I Know Where I'm Going

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person
US 2009, 16mm, color, scope, 30 min.

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