EdinDocs: Saturday Matinee

kristinslideWhat will be your legacy? Will you be a legendary daredevil? Will people learn about you only through your possessions and collections? Will you be remembered for your art, or simply by those people who you helped or delighted – whether personally, or anonymously from afar? The Saturday Matinee at Edindocs brings all these thoughts to the fore, and also offers a more mindful and immediate interlude, examining the way the world communicates with us – even if we can’t see it.


THE FILM COLLECTOR is the late Wolfgang Schneider, in whose Wolfsburg home 30 tons of 35mm and Super8 film were found when he moved into residential care. His house was sold, but his collection is still seeking a new collector or curator.

It’s always fascinating to poke around someone else’s living space – and Florian Krautkraemer’s documentary is particularly immersive, offering lingering shots of the dark wood and green marble of Schneider’s idiosyncratic bungalow. The bedroom and its picture window are bright and airy – other rooms are carefully arrayed with a mass of sculptures, books, adding machines – and the film archive, of course. Schneider’s son and daughter explain how the collection began in the basement, growing to fill an extension and a film storeroom. Schneider converted his cellar into a cinema for family and friends, and as well as the classics, showed his own short Super8 films; a memory lane of moving images, capturing for instance the colour and shape of his garden and its wildlife over the years. Schneider left his family with an increasingly derelict and decaying burden, but Krautkraemer pays tribute to his subject with a film that both echoes and honours the artist’s warm, meditative style.


Stan Dibben was NO ORDINARY PASSENGER, and he’s still alive to tell the tale – despite having spent much of his life hanging off the side of a motorbike, acting as a counterweight to its driver. He was the “monkey” who helped Eric Oliver win the 1953 Sidecar World Championship, on a Norton Manx race bike. Cabell Hopkins’ short is as bright, compact and sparky as Dibben himself. Warning: contains thrilling vintage footage of death defying monkey skills.



Yes, Ruth Grimberg’s chosen subject is blankets, but it’s really about the women who make them. They are charismatic, warm and funny women, offering insight into grandmotherhood as well as into the project management involved in a large-scale knitathon whose goal is to despatch as many woollens as possible overseas to deprived communities in Eastern Europe. Many of the people they hope to help are Holocaust survivors for whom “time has stood completely still”, stranding them in poverty. Their elderly benefactors – Marylou, Fay, Florence and Elaine – want to send them emotional warmth, not just the physical comfort of cosy patchwork. “It’s important to make them pretty, not just warm”.



Eighty year old Kristin is famous for her Hampstead Heath curiosity shop, and especially the exquisitely crafted homemade dolls’ house accoutrements she sells. She’s far more interested in giving happiness than in making money – when a toy or a bauble speaks to someone, that’s her reward. Antigone Davaki strove with his short to show how Baybars’ craft offers the opportunity to “escape from reality and return to what really matters”.


This beautiful short is an excerpt from the audio diaries of John Hull, who lost his sight in adulthood. A taster for a feature project, these NOTES focus on the sound of rainfall. Hull describes the way in which this sound, familiar and comforting to most of us, offers shape and dimension to a sightless person’s surroundings. Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s appropriation of John Hull’s poetic NOTES exercises the imagination as well as the senses, and instil a curious and mindful fascination. One’s instinct might be to pity the blind, but Hull’s audio notebooks show that blindness can allow a unique communion with the aesthetic and spiritual beauty of his surroundings. “Instead of being isolated […] we are addressed by the world”.



NOTES dovetails neatly into a Chris Szwedo’s EYE ON THE SIXTIES, which celebrates the work of the philosophical photojournalist Rowland Scherman. “If you can remember the 60s, you weren’t there…” luckily, Scherman took pictures, and not just any old pictures. He was Johnny on the spot at the Peace Corps, at Woodstock, at John Lennon’s elbow. He was friends with Judy Collins. He’s travelled the world, and eventually settled down on Cape Cod, an artists’ mecca. The unassuming, chuckling and avuncular Scherman is an excellent storyteller, and Szwedo skilfully winnows countless images and anecdotes for a compelling portrait of an artist and his era. “EYE ON THE SIXTIES opens a lot of what was hidden,” says Scherman. “Chris found it.”

The Saturday Matinee takes place on 14 September from 1pm, when the Lyceum Bar and cafe open. Book tickets here.