Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

LETTERS NOT ABOUT LOVE

 

Year: 1998
Country: USA/Russia
Run Time: 60 minutes

Too bad the title "You've Got Mail" is already taken. LETTERS NOT ABOUT LOVE germinated in 1983, when filmmaker Jacki Ochs visited the former USSR in a Cold War period during which American and Russian writers and musicians were talking peace while the Reagan and Brezchnev regimes were rattling sabers. Struck by a Values Gap between artists and statesmen, Ochs initiated a written dialogue between Lyn Hejinian of Bereley and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko of Leningrad, poets and essayists who exhanged personal correspondence (on one-word topics suggested by Ochs) from 1988 to 1993. In the meantime, Ochs filmed samples of their lives; Hejinian's expansive California is starkly contrasted with Dragomoshchenko's cramped living quarters and old-fashioned Russian streetscapes. Through English narration by professional actors juxtaposed against a lyrical cascade of documentary images, the images, the words of two writers present a dyptych of ideas and emotions, a dual portrait of the United States and Russia, and a very personal connection that was mutually inspirational.

Screenplay
Jacki Ochs, Lyn Hejinian, Arkadi Dragomoshchenko

Director
Jacki Ochs

Producer
Jacki Ochs

Cinematography
James Livingston

Editing
Jacki Ochs

Principal Cast
Narrators: Lily Taylor, Victor Nord

Print Source
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