Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with each and every new project. Between 1994 and 2009, her five essay films took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions.

Recently, after 25 years of making experimental documentaries, Lynne learned something that turned all her ideas about filmmaking upside down. While working on Your Day is My Night in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City, she came to see that every time she asked a person to talk in front of her camera, they were performing for her rather than revealing something completely honest about their lives. The very process of recording guaranteed that some aspect of the project would be artificial. She decided she had to think of a way to change that, so she invited her subjects to work with her to make the film, to become her collaborators. For Lynne, this change in her process has moved her toward a new type of filmmaking, one that not only explores the experiences of her subjects, but also invites them to participate in the construction of a film about their lives.

Her films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto’s Images Festival and Los Angeles’ REDCAT Theatre as well as a five-film retrospective at the Buenos Aires Film Festival. The San Francisco Cinematheque recently published a monograph with four original essays in conjunction with a full retrospective of Lynne’s work. In 2014, Lynne received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Film and Video.

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Lynne Sachs
  • Investigation of a Flame

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • With Daniel Berrigan, Philip Berrigan • 2001 • 45 minutes

    "Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house... The time is past whe...

  • The Last Happy Day

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 2015 • 37 minutes

    THE LAST HAPPY DAY is an experimental documentary portrait of Sandor Lenard, a Hungarian medical doctor and a distant cousin of filmmaker Lynne Sachs. In 1938 Lenard, a writer with a Jewish background, fled the Nazis to a safe haven in Ro...

  • Sermons and Sacred Pictures

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 2004 • 29 minutes

    In association with the Center for Southern Folklore, SERMONS AND SACRED PICTURES profiles Reverend L.O. Taylor, a Memphis-based Baptist minister who in the 1930s and 40s built a fiery reputation by lacing his sermons with parables, fable...

  • Starfish Aorta Colossus

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 2015 • 5 minutes

    Poetry watches film. Film reads poetry. Paolo Javier’s text is a catalyst for the digital sculpting of an 8mm Kodachrome canvas. Syntactical ruptures and the celebration of nouns illuminate twenty-five years of rediscovered film journeys. ...

  • States of Unbelonging

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 2015 • 63 minutes

    The core of this haunting meditation on war, land, the Bible, and filmmaking is a portrait of Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker and mother killed near the West Bank. Director Lynne Sachs creates a film on the violence of the Middle Eas...

  • Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 1994 • 33 minutes

    When two American sisters travel north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, conversations with Vietnamese strangers and friends reveal to them the flip side of a shared history. Lynne and Dana Sachs' travel diary of their trip to Vietnam is a ...

  • Your Day is My Night

    Directed by Lynne Sachs • Documentary • 2013 • 64 minutes

    Since the early days of New York’s Lower East Side tenement houses, working class people have shared beds, making such spaces a fundamental part of immigrant life. Initially documented in Jacob Riis’ now controversial late 19th Century ph...