Shifting Viewpoints

An adoring portrait of the deep-thinking storyteller and art critic John Berger, this unusual documentary is not really a documentary at all. Instead it ventures into uncharted docu-territory, wallowing in the essence of Berger as he is captured on film by four separate directors.

It is, perhaps, Tilda Swinton’s adoration of this man – they class themselves as twins, sharing the same birthday 34 years apart – that drives this conversation piece. He glories in words; she glories in him. It is a love affair but one built of talk, of language and of ideas and the mind.

A (deliberately) fractured piece that is at times gleefully incoherent, this quartet of vignettes/film essays drops in Berger’s own poems, references to Derrida and Heidegger, faraway memories of the Great War and politics. It is all an indicator to Berg­er’s intellectual landscape but the content works best when the man himself is sounding forth. A “ka­leidobiopic”, Seasons in Quincy is a filmic tapestry.

Tony Earnshaw

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger is now available from Curzon Artificial Eye.

1. Still from The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger.