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FILM DOCUMENTARY GRANT GEE Patience (After Sebald) [2012]

FILM DOC Patience [After Sebald] 1

Patience (After Sebald)

Patience (After Sebald) is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss – an exploration of the work and influence of WG Sebald, told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book The Rings Of Saturn.

Some links for after watching:

The film page itself suggests a list of reviews. These are mostly short. A really good succinct one is:

Patience (After Sebald) By Kenji Fujishima, 6 May 2012 (Slant Mag)

Patience (After Sebald), Rhythm Circus (January 26th, 2012)

Patience: The DVD (a Sebald blog) – who links to a previous post on the film here:


A few seconds after the title of Grant Gee’s film fades, a subtitle appears that tells us what the next 84 minutes are going to be about: “A Walk Through The Rings of Saturn.” Patience (After Sebald) is a tour through a book rather than a visit to a place or the story of a life. Gee does, at times, show us locations referred to by the words of the book, but, as several interviewees say, it’s foolish, really, to follow in Sebald’s footsteps. So, like a good reader, Gee follows Sebald’s words.

Also in there a list of the contributors in the film.

To make things less of a love-in, a certain hermeneut (oho!) in the comments in Patience – The DVD, remarks:

It’s a dreadful film, traducing every one of Sebald’s careful meditations on the politics of representation. The final image of Sebald in a bush is an embarrassment and a travesty.


The Smoke/face superimposition might seem a bit over the top, or even distasteful, but to me that puff of smoke – he died in a car accident at the age of 57, on the Lowestoft Road not far from Framlingham Earl a few miles from Norwich – playfully hints at Sebald’s use of photographs in his work. This 2001 Guardian piece, Recovered memories, Maya Jaggi quotes Sebald: “In school I was in the dark room all the time, and I’ve always collected stray photographs; there’s a great deal of memory in them.” Eric Homberger in an obituary of Sebald writes:

Sebald, who was a devoted photographer, used images in his novels. Sometimes they were found objects, postcards, or something from an old newspaper. He was an exacting customer at the University of East Anglia copy shop, discussing what might be done with his images, adjusting the size and contrast. The photographs appear without captions and acquire meaning from the surrounding text. We read those enigmatic images through the story which Sebald provides, and then, later, come to the suspicion that they were something more (or less) than an illustration or documentation of the story. The way he handled visual images was characteristic of the way he wrote, determined not to make his point in an assertive way, but with implication and suggestion.

In the comments a few interesting mentions of the possible influence on Sebald of the German psychogeographers, and a post by Helen Pallet:

Patience (After Sebald): a geographer’s reflections

Simply raising a hand, closing an eyelid… Patience (After Sebald)
Does a useful brief intro to the book with one extended quote.

December 12, 2013 - Posted by | Patience (After Sebald), psychogeography, W G Sebald | , ,

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