Letters Not About Love


Letters Not About Love
1998 | 59 minutes | Documentary
3.5 out of 5 stars

Two contemporary poets, one from America (Lyn Hejinian), the other from Russia (Arkadii Dragomoshchenko) are asked to begin a correspondence based on a list of ordinary words such as 'home,' 'book,' 'poverty,' 'violence.' They reflect on each word, considering its conventional meaning and what it means to them personally. The resulting extraordinary five-year dialogue is by turns poignant, profound and funny. Both poets move seamlessly from present to past, a move echoed by the use of striking new and archival footage from both countries. Narrative, travelogue, and memoir are combined in a fusion of image, sound and word that is a total sensual experience. As the film progresses and intimacy grows, both the similarities and differences between Russian and American ways of grasping the world are revealed. Letters Not About Love becomes both a revealing portrait of two cultures and a compelling exploration of language, communication, and the art of mutual understanding.