To Richard Leacock, a good film involved you and gave you the “feeling of being there.” Achieving that goal required defying the conventions of filmmaking of his time: spontaneous rather than scripted; minimal equipment on-site instead of studio sets and large crews; and, most important, the courage to engage with one’s subjects, to never rehearse, and to accept the inevitable missed shot. His films were strikingly different and caught the attention of MIT’s Provost Jerome Wiesner. In the fall of 1969, Wiesner invited Leacock to join the faculty. Even before Leacock officially took the job, Wiesner had a special request: Would Leacock film the antiwar protest actions that were consuming the MIT campus? The rough-cut film November Actions is deeply moving and perhaps the best film about MIT ever made. Leacock’s longtime MIT colleague Glorianna Davenport is leading the effort to restore this film. The excerpts featured in the exhibition showed four key sequences from the original hour-long production.
November Actions, Film
Film by Richard Leacock; sound by Robert Leacock.
Restoration directed by Glorianna Davenport with assistance by Brian Bradley.
Transfer by Finish Post
photo: courtesy G. Andrew Boyd