The films of Margaret Caroline Tait (Kirkwall, Scotland, 1918-1999) will feature in one of the three retrospectives that the Punto de Vista Navarra International Documentary Film Festival has programmed for its 9th edition, which will be held from 10th to 15th February 2015 at the Baluarte Auditorium in Pamplona. Another of the retrospectives organised by Punto de Vista will be dedicated to islands.
Margaret Tait was a poet and filmmaker born and raised on a small island in the Orkneys, north of Scotland, where her filmmaking path has always followed the landscape of her life in parallel. She registered at Edinburgh University, from where she graduated in Medicine (1941), and later moved to Rome where she studied filmmaking at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (1950-1952). After studying in Italy, Tait returned to Scotland and founded her own production company: Ancona Films. Throughout the 1960’s, Tait continued making films inspired by the landscape and culture of the Orkneys. In total, she made 32 short films and one feature film: Blue Black Permanent (1992). Tait also wrote prose and poetry and published three collections of poems: Origins and Elements, The Hen and the Bees: Legends and Lyric and Subjects and Sequences: A Margaret Tait Reader.
Tait’s films are totally self-funded, absolutely free and detached from any official matters, the type of filmmaking that Punto de Vista seeks edition after edition. Her abstract, animated films, some of which were painted by hand, her excellent brief yet concise portraits of poets and travel companions, and above all, most of her films in which she tried to trap the beating of a landscape and the breath of a vital space will be present in the retrospective that Punto de Vista dedicates to her in its 2015 edition.
Her works are films that defend the sketch of the film rather than the finished work and which begin, for example, singing of a happy childhood like in Happy Bees, or the passing of the seasons on a farm on the islands in Land Makar. This phase is followed by more urban portraits of a more profound filmmaking; a staging that shows more floors than skies during the years she spent in Edinburgh, where she shot films such as Rose Street or Where I am is here. And a final third stage, when she decided to return to the islands in the 1960s, to once more feel and film that missed geography and the leaps from city to country that she liked so much in works, such as The Drift Back or the series, Aspects of Kirkwall.
The phrase that Margaret Tait repeated most often when explaining her films is Lorca’s idea that she loved so much and which claimed that the poet had to “stalk the image”. The Scottish filmmaker practised this verse perfectly, fully aware that this visual hunt was not with the eye, but from an indefinable, more inner place, close to the lungs, where it is felt that breathing is filmed.
With the programming of these retrospectives, Punto de Vista aims, as a film festival, to invite the public to reflect on the film industry and obtain a better understanding through a transversal look at the memory of film, beyond the present. For this reason, since its outset, the festival has opened spaces for names, currents, countries or tendencies to take a closer look at them: Raymond Depardon, Jem Cohen, James Benning, A thousand years of Japanese films, arthouse cinema or footage found.