Skip to main content

The Is/Land

USA, 1981 (MIFF 1982, The Avant-Garde)

Director: Michael Oblowitz, David Goldberg

An 'anti documentary', it investigates the formal apparatus through which language and meaning are made and communicated in documentary cinema and television The film applies an ideological position — an analysis of South Africa through the metaphor of Robben Island, a maximum security prison there — to a pluralistic interpretation of the formal possibilities of representing that position Language, understood as a mode of political control, is analyzed simultaneously as a means for controlling the viewer of the documentary in relation to the information such a film imparts Within this analysis, the film uses video and super 8mm, as well as the 16mm format in conjunction with natural and artificial languages (e g , logic), to develop its argument

See also...


Malcolm Le Grice is one of the leading British avant-garde filmmakers. He has been making films since the early 1970s. The program notes presented here are extracted from a review in the Monthly Film ... More »

Ecocide: A Strategy of War

Ecocide: a Strategy of War explores the results and implications of modern environmental warfare techniques used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. These ecocidal tactics included massive chemical ... More »

L.A. Suggested by the Art of Edward Ruscha

A compendium of Los Angeles icons, from class to kitsch. Edward Ruscha's paintings, drawings and photographs are the point of departure for this impressionistic study of Los Angeles' buildings ... More »


It is not easy living in New York these days, especially if your wife has left you for a cosmetician, your child is roaming Canada in a camper, girls turn you down in rapid succession and you are a ... More »


Ei Salvador: Another Vietnam ... investigates the history of the crisis and the forces that have embroiled the U.S. in this Central American conflict. The film paints a disturbing picture: 50 years ... More »


Made over a period of three years for a mere $100,000, Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? looks raw and unsophisticated, but the very poverty of its means allows a ... devastating political story to ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director