Robert Beavers’ ’Sotiros’ Trilogy

Thursday 30 May, AFW / Arena Project Space, 2 Kerr St, Fitzroy, 7:30pm. $7.

Sotiros (Robert Beavers, 1977-96)

Sotiros (Robert Beavers, 1977-96)

 “The necessity that is woven into the film by the filmmaker and the psychic direction of the spectator create at certain moments a congruence fed by eros, history, and temperament…and by the always changing physical world.”

“The Searching Measure", Robert Beavers, (pub. UC Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive).

Sotiros Responds, the first film in Robert Beavers' Sotiros trilogy, was completed in 1978, not long after the filmmaker was seriously injured in a bus accident in Greece. The following film, Sotiros Alone, then responded to the accident and to his convalescence, and the final film in the trilogy, Sotiros in the Elements, was made following his recovery.

The Greek name Sotiros points to the god Apollo and his abilities to heal and to redeem souls. Sotiros Responds was shot in the Peloponnese, near the Apollo Sotiros (Epikoros) temple in Bassae. Sotiros Alone takes inspiration for filming locations from Wozzeck, Alban Berg's opera which also features on the film's soundtrack. Finally, for Sotiros in the Elements, Beavers returned to Athens, filming at some of the same locations shot in the first film.

Besides Greece - the country where Beavers with his partner, filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos, would a few years later 'establish' their film archive and exhibition space (for a future time and future spectators of their work), the Temenos - the other location we see in the trilogy is a hotel room in Austria. The three films pursue Beavers' interest in a particular pattern of light and its path in the modestly furnished room. Markopoulos also appears briefly. The films are a rare instance of Beavers using intertitles; instead of sound, 'voice' is created by repeating titles which intersperse the silent image.

In 1996, Beavers re-edited the Sotiros Trilogy into a unified work, a 26 minute film. The NFSA holds screening prints of the original trilogy (from 1977-78). We are excited to hold this rare screening of this early version of Beavers' Sotiros.

Sotiros Responds, 1977, 16mm, colour, sound, 25 min.

The first film in a trilogy which forms the filmmaker's creative response to his life-threatening and immobilising bus accident in June 1976. The Greek name Sotiros suggests salvation, and as Gregory Markopoulos writes, 'Beavers has with his grave wound (the leg swathed in cloth) responded towards the images of the unprintable'.

Sotiros (Alone), 1978, 16mm, colour, sound, 12 min.

The subject of this experimental film appears to be a solitary man's subjective sense impressions. As P. Adams Sitney writes, 'Beavers' skeptical and radically aesthetic perspective centers the cinematic vision in an act of apperception that neither points beyond itself in a chain of meaning toward an absolute nor admits epiphanies'

Sotiros in the Elements, 1978, 16mm, colour, sound, 8 min.

The final film in Robert Beavers' 'Sotiros' trilogy alternates between stationary shots and rapid pans of interiors and exteriors, the natural and the man-made world. Meanwhile extreme close-ups of a man's eye and ear, along with superimposed words, suggest perceptual re-engagement.

Sotiros , Robert Beavers, 1977-96

Sotiros, Robert Beavers, 1977-96