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Our films tell the stories of individuals of courage, vision, and persistence whose lives and actions lead to a greater understanding of our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world. They are teachers, farmers, activists, artists or musicians. They know that change takes time. They understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the integrity of the parts will inevitably lead to that greater whole. It is this integrity, which is the basis of their power and of their drive. They inspire hope.

In a master teacher raises a whole generation of children into a life of the knowledge of tolerance and fairness, and through these children the whole community is moved to greater understanding. In a world renowned environmental activist who understands the linkages between poverty, environmental degradation, human rights and democracy exposes and successfully challenges the role of colonialism and extractive economic development in undermining the tenets of social justice, in corroding an intact culture. In a refugee’s return to his occupied homeland illustrates the inseparability of spirituality, family, culture and politics for the Tibetan people.

graduated from Goddard College with a B.A. in Philosophy. He began his film career in New York City working with the documentary filmmaker Bill Jersey, with Brian De Palma on his film , starring Robert De Niro, and with Bob Elfstrom on the now classic documentary on Johnny Cash, His freelance experience includes many productions that were broadcast on major U.S. networks including: , an Emmy Award-winning medical documentary series for NBC; , an Emmy Award-winning medical series for CBS; and National Geographic Specials. After moving to Vermont in the early 70s, while continuing his freelance work he started Marlboro Productions and began producing and directing his own documentaries.

Alan Dater

began making films with Alan Dater in 1989. Before this, she worked professionally as a weaver for ten years where her intent was to weave tapestry and use it as an art form for social change; but instead she ended up as a production weaver. It was not until she started making films in 1989, that she fulfilled her goal of weaving images that could inspire social change. She has a Masters in Teaching English and has taught English as a second language in multi-cultural classrooms. She brings her interest in education, cultural diversity, and social change, as well as her skill as a craftsman, to the filmmaking process. Since 1996 she has been a member of New Day Films, a longstanding documentary film collective.

Lisa Merton

co-directed and co-produced , a film about a Tibetan refugee’s return to his homeland, shown on many PBS stations, and at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam; , the story of the collaboration of a Japanese potter and a Vermont potter, winner of a Cine Golden Eagle, The Best Media Work at the Montréal Festival of Films on Art, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre; , a portrait of the well-known American painter, winner of a Cine Golden Eagle; , a documentary about an extraordinary Vermont public school teacher; and , the dramatic story of Wangari Maathai the founder of The Green Belt Movement of Kenya and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It has won numerous international awards including The Audience Award at Hot Docs and was broadcast on PBS/ Independent Lens in April 2009.

What Descartes had to say about the body was as avant-garde as what he had to say about the mind. A keen dissector of animal carcasses, which he procured on regular visits to butchers, Descartes developed a comprehensive physiology that treated bodies as if they were machines. “I suppose the body to be just a statue or a machine made of earth,” he wrote in the early 1630s, in his Treatise on Man , one of two scientific works he chose not to publish after learning of Galileo’s conviction for heresy in 1633. He compared human bodies to “clocks, artificial fountains, mills, and other similar machines that…have the power to move of their own accord in various ways.” He drew particular attention to some fountains in the royal gardens of St.-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris, in which the force of water drove various contraptions. Descartes explained that “a certain very fine wind, or…flame,” which he called “animal spirits,” courses through the nerves of the body, just as water flowed through the pipes of these fountains.

His account of the body was intended as an application of what would later be called the mechanical philosophy. This new science, mainly inspired by Alperton Pleated Panel Dress Finery RK73yrE
, saw nature in terms of matter, motion, and mathematical laws. Physical change was explained by the contact between objects and the size, shape, and motion of their interacting component parts rather than by the intrinsic qualities invoked by Aristotelian thinkers—whom the Galileans reckoned could not really explain anything at all. ( Molière parodied such empty science in his play The Imaginary Invalid , in which a student attributes the soporific effect of opium simply to its inherent sleep-inducing quality, or “dormitive virtue.”)

After dealing mechanistically with digestion and the action of the heart, lungs, and other organs, Descartes’ Treatise proceeds to treat perception, volition, and memory along similar lines. Helpful diagrams are provided throughout. The brain’s pineal gland plays a crucial role in these mental activities, for it is here that the “rational soul,” or mind, has “its principal seat,” exercising its influence on the body and receiving messages from it via the animal spirits that course through the body’s nerves to and from the brain. Again exploiting his analogy with the hydraulic devices in the royal gardens, Descartes wrote that the soul “resides” in the pineal gland, “like the fountaineer, who must be stationed at the tanks to which the fountains’ pipes return if he wants to initiate, impede, or in some way alter their movements.”

, attributed to Albert van Ouwater, c. 1460. © , Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917.

This seems puzzling. According to Descartes, the mind is not a spatial thing with a size or shape, so we presumably should not take his statement that it “resides” in the brain too literally. How, then, are we to take it? His anatomical researches may have led him to the pineal gland, but why was he using anatomy in the first place given the supposed ghostliness of the mind?

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My experience of The Piano was thus a heightened instance of our common sensuous experience of the movies: the way we are in some carnal modality able to touch and be touched by the substance of images, to feel a visual atmosphere envelop us, to experience weight and suffocation and the need for air, to take flight in kinetic exhilaration and freedom even as we are relatively bound to our seats, to be knocked backwards by a sound, to sometimes even smell and taste the world we see upon the screen. Although, perhaps, these latter senses are less called upon than touch to inform our comprehension of the images we see, I still remember the perfumed redolence (or better, the “visual aroma”) of my experience of Black Narcissus (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, 1946), (43) or the pork-noodle taste of portions of Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1986). (Indeed, the power of advertising rests heavily on the presumption of such transmodal cooperation and translation within and across the sensorium.) As I engaged these films, I did not “think” a translation of my sense of sight into smell or taste; rather I experienced it without a thought. Indeed, as Elena del Río describes this experience: “As the image becomes translated into a bodily response, body and image no longer function as discrete units, but as surfaces in contact, engaged in a constant activity of reciprocal re-alignment and inflection.” (44)

In this somatic regard, if we are to think yet again about processes of “identification” in the film experience, we might more deeply think them in relation to our engagement with and recognition of neither characters nor “subject positions,” but rather of the sense and sensibility of materiality itself. Subjective matter as we ourselves are, our lived bodies sensually relate to “things” on the screen and find them sensible in a prepersonal and global way that grounds later identifications that are more discrete and localized. Certainly, my experience of the opening “subjective” shot of The Piano provides evidence of this prepersonal and globally-located bodily comprehension, but this “ambient” and carnal identification with material subjectivity also occurs when, for example, I “objectively” watch Baines–under the piano and Ada’s skirts–reach out and touch Ada’s flesh through a hole in her black woolen stocking. (45) Looking at this “objective” image, like the reviewer cited earlier, I also felt an “immediate tactile shock when flesh first touches flesh in close-up.” Yet precisely whose flesh I felt is ambiguous–and that ambiguity or vagueness emerges from a phenomenological experience structured on ambivalence and diffusion, on an interest and investment in being both “here” and “there,” in being able both to sense and to be sensible, both the subject and the object of tactile desire. At that moment when Baines touches Ada’s skin through her stocking, suddenly my skin is both mine and not my own: the “immediate tactile shock” opens me to the general erotic mattering of flesh and I am diffusely–ambivalently–Baines’s body, Ada’s body, what I have elsewhere called the “film’s body,” and my “own” body. Womens Savannah Maternity Jeans New Look Maternity ZYFoN0kb
Thus, even confronted with an “objective” shot, my fingers know and understand the meanings of this “seen” and this viewing situation and they are everywhere–not only in the touching, but also in the touched. Objectivity and subjectivity thus lose their presumed clarity. Here (and to varying degree in every viewing situation), “to situate subjectivity in the lived body jeopardizes dualistic metaphysics altogether. There remains no basis for preserving the mutual exclusivity of the categories subject and object, inner and outer, I and world.” (47)

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