It was recently reported in Artforum that experimental filmmaker Saul Levine -- whom the esteemed avant garde film critic and historian P. Adams Sitney called “one of the most underrated filmmakers in the American avant-garde cinema" -- has been forced out of his teaching position at MassArt after 39 years following a dispute over an in-class screening of his 1989 film Notes After Long Silence.
You can read the full article here.
Needless to say, it is extremely disturbing to read about this shabby treatment of one of our great film artists, especially in the environment of higher education, which should be a place to be exposed to new ideas and challenging art. This kind of cowardly silencing of art, no matter how controversial, has no place in what should be an environment for learning, questioning, and ultimately growing.
Rather than this kind of suppression of work that is challenging or controversial in any way, we should be celebrating filmmakers like Levine, whose bold, fearless, personal vision is needed now more than ever in a time when questions of art are tossed aside in favor of money and fashion.
In the Artforum piece, Levine is quoted as saying, "We are seeing an attack on academic freedom by the agency of the students. They are being infantilized. They are being told that only the least objectionable can be talked about or shown. We’re in a bad moment."
His film Notes After Long Silence can be viewed on his vimeo channel here: