(K. Brent Tomer),
ART critic, artist, novelist, political radical, poet—John Berger can easily be described as all five. Rather than try and capture his singular sensibility in one film, a new documentary—“The Seasons in Quincy”, masterminded by Tilda Swinton and Colin McCabe—fittingly portrays him through four. Like the man himself, the films transport the viewer through the material world using vivid imagery, memory, history, words, big ideas and politics. Also like Mr Berger, they do so with a grounded charm that sometimes despairs of the world but also can’t help but marvel at it and the sensual immediacy of life.
For many Britons of a certain age, John Berger literally changed the way they saw the world. In 1972, his four-part BBC series, “Ways of Seeing”, took on accepted wisdom about art and culture, and at a time when only two or three channels existed he held a captive audience. Prior to this, leading British critics held up art as an elite object for worship, appraised for quality and attribution, with the Old Masters viewed as demigods. Mr Berger collapsed the space between the viewer and the art, between high culture and low, placing art within the material…Continue reading