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A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

A Tribute to Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/ZDF: Alternative Filmmaking in Television

Monday, November 12, 1979
9:30 p.m. Poto and Cabengo
Jean-Pierre Gorin (USA, 1979)

American Premiere!
Jean-Pierre Gorin in Person!

Between 1968 and 1972, Gorin worked in France as one-half of the Dziga Vertov Group, co-directing with Jean-Luc Godard such militant works as Struggle in Italy, Tout Va Bien, and Vladimir and Rosa. Gorin has stated of his film:
“It’s a film about language. Its main protagonists are Grace (a.k.a. Poto) and Virginia (a.k.a. Cabengo), identical twins from San Diego, California, who became front-page news when the press learned that they might have invented a private language. I went to see them and tried to solve a mystery which could be summed up in one question: what are they saying?
“I should say I - a narrator with a French accent - went to hear them. In the process I had to hear other voices which had dominated their lives: their parents, their therapist, the linguists who were trying to decipher their language. At the end I was left with a film which was both documenting a case and telling a story, the story of my relationship with the twins. It is about an unstructured discourse (‘the language of the twins’) surrounded by structured discourses (the discourse of the family, the discourse of the media, the discourse of therapy, the discourse of documentary film-making). At the end I was left with a sense that we do not speak, but that we are spoken through.”

• Written and Directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin. ZDF Production Executive, Eckart Stein. Photographed by Les Blank. Sound Recording by Maureen Gosling. Additional Photography and Editing by Greg Durbin. (USA, 1979, 77 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Jean-Pierre Gorin)