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September 15 - September 16, 2013

I Wanted to See How I Lived, I Wanted to Love Myself and My Past. A Tribute to Anne Charlotte Robertson

Influenced by filmmakers as diverse as Ed Pincus and Carolee Schneemann, Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949 – 2012) was a Boston area Super 8 filmmaker who examined and shared her life through her work – a mix of essay, performance and stop-motion animation. Anne completed her graduate degree at Massachusetts College of Art in the 1980s – honing her filmmaking skills under the tutelage of Saul Levine. Diagnosed with various and changing mental disorders, Anne faced several breakdowns and mental hospitals – experiences she documented and exorcised thoroughly through her films – particularly within the annals of Five Year Diary (1981-1997), a project spanning nearly two decades.

Though relentlessly intense and emotional, her films are not entirely bleak, for her bracing self-awareness and humor energize and bring a rare effulgence to the depths of her darkest moments.  Anne boldly exposed her most intimate and obsessive inner dialogues – from illness, breakdowns and longing for love to diets, cats and the minutia of existence.  She also considered the filmmaking experience therapeutic and cited the process as helping cure her depression.

Anne died of cancer September 15, 2012 leaving behind an archive of a life passionately examined, primarily through the rough warmth of Super 8. Most of her work was created on Super 8 sound film featuring a soundtrack on the film, with additional audio on cassette and narrated live by Anne, creating many layers of sound and story. The original materials have been digitally transferred and are presented here on DigiBeta.

The Harvard Film Archive, home to the Anne Charlotte Robertson Collection, is honored to pay tribute, over the course of two evenings, to the vivid insights and imagination of a pioneer of experimental first-person cinema.  – Liz Coffey, HFA Film Conservator

Special thanks: Toni Treadway and Saul Levine

Sunday September 15 at 7pm


US 1986, digital video, color, 17 min

I apologize for everything; another exercise in self-therapy.
Anne Charlotte Robertson

Talking to Myself

US 1985, digital video, color, 3 min

Double-exposed self faces self, wrangling, complaining, trying to hear oneself think. – ACR


US 1981, digital video, color, 7 min

Overdoses, breakdown, and rage at system in a stylized mental hospital isolation room. – ACR

Five Year Diary, Reel 22: A Short Affair and
Going Crazy

US 1982, digital video, color, 27 min


Five Year Diary, Reel 23: A Breakdown and
After the Mental Hospital

US 1928, digital video, color, 27 min

TRT: 81 min

Monday September 16 at 7pm


US 1976, digital video, color, 13 min

Lightshow in public transit tunnels, patterns and flashes, screeching and bells. – ACR

Going to Work

US 1981, digital video, color, 7 min

Daily morning trudge and trolley through snow and ice; pigeons, other winter beauties. – ACR

My Cat My Garden and 9/11

US 2001, digital video, color, 6 min

My adored cat Zouina died a week before the tragedy; a week after, my garden died. – ACR

Five Year Diary, Reel 80 – Emily Died (second edit)

US 1994, digital video, color, 27 min


Five Year Diary, Reel 81 – Mourning Emily

US 1995, digital video, color, 27 min

TRT: 80 min

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700