The exhibition that the ninth edition of the Punto de Vista Festival will dedicate to the work of Scotswoman, Margaret Tait, will be made up of 19 of the filmmaker’s 32 short films, hence covering a large part of her filmography. Divided into three programmes (Portraits, Landscapes and Poems), the retrospective will move through the different stages of Tait’s life: her first foray with a camera and celulloid, her stay in Rome to study experimental film, her years in Edinburgh, the city where she set up her production company, Ancona Films, and her final return to her place of origin, Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The PORTRAITS programme brings together titles such as Calypso (1955), her first film, hand-painted directly on celluloid; Hugh MacDiarmid (1964), a study in images of this Scottish poet; Three Portrait Sketches (1951); Land Makar (1981); John MacFadyen (1970); Colour Poems (1974) and the famous short film, A Portrait of Ga (1952), in which the filmmaker freely and musically portrays her own mother, or in Tait’s own words, “with grammar beyond film, with shots linked by subject, sometimes by colour and only rarely by movement”.
In the LANDSCAPES sub-cycle, centre stage is given to the place and the full sensation of being there. The lost paradise of Tait’s childhood re-emerges in Happy Bees (1955) and in The Orquil Burn (1955), her most narrated film, on the Orquil stream, in which water marks the rhythm of the montage whilst the camera is ennterained recording the course of the river, as if it is moving on a floating surface. On the Mountain (1974) means leaving this island paradise to set foot on the urban asphalt of Edinburgh and The Look of the Place (1981) represents thte filmmaker’s final return to her place of origin, Kirkwall, a village that progress seems to have given a facelift. Finally, A Place of Work (1976) takes us back to the first and final space in Margaret Tait’s life: the house where she spent her childhood and which years later, she would turn into her work studio. A home that was about to be pulled down. This is another film about moving by this director, who is used to saying goodbye to places, camera in hand, amassing images on celluloid for the memory.
The retrospective concludes with her POEMS, a collecion of titles that prove that in Tait’s case, poetry can be found in the verses of her three collections of poems and in her films, which are totally indpendent and self-funded. In this final programme, we can seee the seven filmed poems that make up Where I am is Here (1964); the three brief minutes of Eclipse (1973); the film on maturity, All these New Relations (1955); Aerial (1974), a film in which once more the musical pulse takes precedence over the strucure; Garden Pieces (1988), a trilogy of filmed poems on the theme of the garden, and My Room Via Ancona (1951) and These Walls (1974), two films that take up her last breaths in a room minutes before leaving it.