Margaret Tait’s pride of place in her native Scotland—and even more ardently in the Highlands and on the island of Orkney—manifested itself in exquisitely intimate films that combine poetry, portraiture, music, art, experimental documentary, home movie, and animation. A true auteur—she wrote, directed, photographed, edited, animated, and almost always financed her films—Tait (1918–1999) is the subject of an extensive touring retrospective that features newly preserved prints, including Portrait of Ga (1952) and Colour Poems (1974). Also presented is one of Tait’s earliest films, Three Portrait Sketches (1951), made in Rome when she was studying at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia during the height of the neorealist movement. Tait often quoted García Lorca’s phrase “stalking the image” to define her philosophy, believing that if you look at an object closely enough—a garden, a face, a street—it will speak its nature.
Organized by Peter Todd, LUX (London), and Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, and Lisa Rosen, Intern, Department of Film and Media.