Robert Kramer Retrospective:
Director: Robert Kramer & John Douglas
USA / 1975 / 195 min
Last screened on Wed, Nov 4
After a six-year hiatus spent with Newsreel and New Left activists on a commune in Vermont, Kramer returned to filmmaking with John Douglas, one of his collaborators on The People’s War, to fashion this three-and-a-half-hour epic examining the ongoing lives of over 50 people who had, in the previous decade, dedicated themselves to the Movement. Mixing documentary and fictional modes of filmmaking with a poetic, free-associative logic, Milestones provides audiences with a cross-country journey that moves from the mountains of Vermont to the sculptural landscapes of the American southwest and back to New York City’s urban streets. But above all, Milestones is a film about history and how people understand themselves historically, exploring the ways an American past characterized by slavery, indigenous subjugation, labor suppression, and imperialist aggression, persists into the present and therefore weighs upon the future. Described by Kramer and Douglas as a film about political, cultural, and spiritual “rebirth” (and featuring an actual childbirth), it was also the last film Kramer would complete on U.S. soil until his equally epic Route One/USA (1989).