John Gianvito

John Gianvito – Her Socialist Smile (2020)

Gianvito’s portrait of Keller can be seen as a continuation and expansion of his PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND, which recalled certain protagonists of the progressive movement in the US, inspired by historian Howard Zinn.

Helen Keller became both blind and deaf as a child. The film follows some of her most important public appearances and comments, starting with her speech “Out of the Dark” (1913). Gianvito’s narrative visual style has an almost elemental quality, when he crossfades voiceovers and silent written text passages by Keller with ever shifting close-ups of the structure of snowy boughs, ice or timber. It’s another highly idiosyncratic work of poetry, didactics, and agitprop at the service of a bottom-up view of history, at once an appreciation and analysis of Keller’s theses on capitalism. It’s no spoiler to say that they are just as valid 100 years on. (Gunnar Landsgesell) Read More »

John Gianvito – The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (2001)

Quote:
Self-funded, 16 mm and six years in the making, this politically-engaged, heartfelt and pantheistic three-hour exploration of American responses to the Gulf War is effectively unique in its decision to commit this conflict to celluloid. Written and directed by John Gianvito, programmer of the Harvard Film Archive, it weaves three fictional strands alongside documentary footage, interviews and a singular concert performance to create a multi-stranded, many-layered text that is fueled as much by (focused) anger as it is by the prerogatives of aesthetics. Read More »

John Gianvito – Vapor Trail (Clark) (2010)

An investigation into the ecological disaster caused by a US military base on the Philippines – and its victims, their world. A humble act of solidarity, a defiant work of remembrance, a rallying cry to rise and resist, a cinematic prose poem. Read More »

John Gianvito – Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (2007)


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from Cinemascope
Reigniting the Flame:
John Gianvito’s Profit motive and the whispering wind
By Michael Sicinski

At the 2001 Vancouver International Film Festival I had the good fortune to catch a screening of The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, a three-hour independent feature by film scholar and curator John Gianvito. I had not heard very much about the film itself, but I had heard Gianvito’s name; a friend of mine interned with him at the Harvard Film Archive around this time. (He held this post for five years, and is now an Assistant Professor at Emerson College in Boston.) Mad Songs is a political film that encompasses multiple stories, but does so following a film historical road less travelled—beginning with D.W. Griffith’s A Corner in Wheat (1909) and leading most recently to Fast Food Nation (2006). Read More »