Essay and Esse
In the journey from thought to expression – from spirit to flesh – an essay is transformed. Its essence is mutable ‘till locked, and its form becomes part of its character. Moving image essays, thankfully, are a highly fluid form. The present moment of their development is particularly exciting as technological advances enable new structures. Yet in that excitement lies peril, as structures become recognized and regulated. With roots in the written word, the illustrated lecture, and the movies, a rapidly developing future looms ahead. This presentation asks where the essence of a moving image essay lies amidst this shifting landscape. It asks: what is the “esse” of cinematic essays?
Ross Lipman is an independent filmmaker and archivist. Formerly Senior Film Restorationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, his many restorations include Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, Kent Mackenzie’s The Exiles, the Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, and works by Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, and John Cassavetes. He was a 2008 recipient of Anthology Film Archives’ Preservation Honors, and is a three-time winner of the National Society of Film Critics’ Heritage Award. His essays on film history, technology, and aesthetics have been published in Artforum, Sight and Sound, and numerous academic books and journals. His most recent film restorations are Thom Andersen’s Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer and the film Crossroads.