Early Monthly Segments

#42 = 8/13/12 = Susan Sontag’s Promised Lands

Promised Lands

In the Ballroom!

“Using the Arab-Israel War as a metaphor for the human condition, Sontag has made a strong, clear, intelligent film. It is unlike any film that I have ever seen.” – Roberto Rossellini

We’re thrilled to present a recently preserved 16mm print of Susan Sontag’s only documentary. Filmed during the bitter end of Israel’s Yom Kippur War in 1973,  and subsequently banned in Israel upon release, she called it her “most personal film.”

From Harvard Film Archive: In her writing as in this film, Sontag preferred “collage, assemblage, and inventory.” Lingering shots of mourners at the Wailing Wall, abandoned remains of humans and their machines, and soldiers reenacting war in a psychiatric ward interact with sequences of herdsmen minding goats, people chatting at the market, and children holding hands. “It is a film about a mental landscape…as well as a physical and political one.” said Sontag. Unidentified voices sometimes reinforce, sometimes counter her visual chronicle – itself containing so many contradictions amid the grief and gunfire. Pondering the origins and probable outcome of “two rights opposing each other,” Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk and physicist Yuval Ne’eman typify variations of the intellectual speculation that continues today. Painfully present, Promised Lands reverberates like the bells in the opening shots or the recurring heart monitor sound flat-lining and coming to life again … ominous yet hopeful, always a lament.

Promised Lands, Susan Sontag, 1974, 16mm, USA, 87 minutes
@ Gladstone Hotel, Ballroom  |  1214 Queen St West
Monday August 13, 2012  |  8:00 pm screening | $5-10 suggested donation

PROMISED LANDS print courtesy the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and was preserved with funding from the American Film Institute. Thanks to The Film Desk and The Gladstone Hotel.

Promised Lands

Upcoming #43 = Monday 9/17/2012 = TBA