on the works of Ross Lipman

"one of the most original essay film artists now working in the U.S. I don't know another body of work even remotely similar to his. ” -- Thom Andersen, filmmaker/historian

"Lipman’s films question the sometimes-impossible tensions between form and meaning as they relate to the history of cinema, in a serious interrogation of modernity and the mystic pains and pleasures of duality.” -- Rachel Jones, Brooklyn Rail

“I… see Lipman as a re-worked version of what Manny Farber called a “Termite Artist”. As opposed to the “White Elephant” artist, who announces his or her presence, or ego-based pronouncements at every opportunity, he pursues hidden realms within overlooked pockets of culture and society. To veer from Farber’s original conception, Lipman finds big-game, capital “M” Meaning in his explorations, though it’s circled around delicately, and never gauchely consumed... All of his work as a creative artist or restorationist is possessed of a sense of the transience of things (whether material or moments in time), the passing of cultural memory, and a romance with the marginal. As heavy as what I’ve just laid down is, you can also tell from what’s discussed above there’s a crucial poetic zaniness running throughout his sensibility, just enough to lighten and render delectable what is a very complex layer-cake, indeed…”
-- Brecht Andersch, curator, Film On Film Foundation; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

"Lipman’s films are wonderful. …strong and delicate at the same time; it’s unique."
-- Nicole Brenez, curator, Cinémathèque Française

on The Case of the Vanishing Gods

"THE CASE OF THE VANISHING GODS is in turn fun, funny, deeply disturbing, and always provocative: a commentary on the fakery of cinema and the desire for fakery that makes it all possible. It's almost as acidic as it is terrifying." -- Jonathan Rosenbaum

"a black phantasmagoria on the relationship between cinema and ventriloquism in which puppet theater meets animation and Greek tragedy borders on horror.... The film enters a dimension between history, spirituality and the unconscious which, through a diversity of animation techniques, ventures to the very origins of ventriloquism." -- Sylvia Nugara, Il Manifesto

"Ross Lipman, one of the most important contemporary independent cinema innovators, explores a fraction of film culture with surprising freedom, cutting, stretching and creating a unique collage of history, cinema, and ventriloquist art. There is no shortage of fear, and plenty of liberating laughter. The Case of the Vanishing Gods sets a clear direction for independent cinema, establishing the increasingly important role of essay films beyond the mainstream cinema." -- Monica Delgado, Desistfilm

"The Case of the Vanishing Gods offers a deeply ambitious, compelling account of the infinite conflations and permutations of material, cinematic, and psychological territories. That it does so with humor and the utmost ingenuity, with an ethereal budget and a cool seventy-minute run time, makes it a beacon of scrappy existential glory." -- Rachel Jones, The Brooklyn Rail

"Horror and psychoanalysis join in a beautiful, creative and damned disturbing work."
-- Alessio Gradogna, Orizzonti di Gloria

on Between Two Cinemas

"4K scans of Lipman's poetic, exploratory short films open up new conversations about how artists look after their work, whilst casting a fresh eye on the broad terrain of alternative film in this highly unusual, immersive and discursive, personally inflected hybrid of curated-programme and essay-film."
-- William Fowler, curator, BFI National Archive

"Lipman is one of the leading figures in American independent film culture today, and this absorbing hybrid is a fascinating insight to his evolving views on film art ."
-- Ed Lawrenson, Three To See at London Film Festival

"Lipman proposes a space "between two cinemas", at a crossroads of eras, politics and aesthetics... and as an entry point to the riskiest cinema. It is a space where everything intersects: the present and the past, affinities and difference; spanning a system of production that is both questioned and acknowledged."
-- Monica Delgado, Desistfilm

on The Exploding Digital Inevitable

"THE EXPLODING DIGITAL INEVITABLE is the ideal way to encounter one of the very best films in the history of cinema, Bruce Conner's CROSSROADS."
-- Erika Balsom, author, Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art- Erika Balsom

"The masterful preservation of CROSSROADS is a wonder to behold, and THE EXPLODING DIGITAL INEVITABLE adds to the meditative spectacle. Lipman's live performance essay is riveting, and feels more essential than ever in the current moment."
-- Jennifer Peterson, author, Education in the School of Dreams

"I found myself reeling in the 'after-cloud' of THE EXPLODING DIGITAL INEVITABLE. Live-cinema can morph and this notion made it resonate on a whole other level. It opened my mind to what cinema can be."
-- Karissa Hahn, filmmaker

on Notfilm. (short selection of early comments. For full list of reviews, interviews and articles click here )

"A two hour documentary film about a half hour film sounds ridiculous, but not if the film is Samuel Beckett's Film. The confluence of Beckett, Buster Keaton and Alan Schneider is joined by Ross Lipman, who functions here as a cultural archaeologist of the highest order. Notfilm joins the very short list of great movies about the movies."
-- Scott Eyman, historian and author, Ernst Lubitsch, Laughter in Paradise

"I am lost in admiration for this work... the film is ambitious, thrilling and illuminating. It represents an invaluable addition to Beckett scholarship. NOTFILM is a superb film."
-- James Knowlson, OBE (Beckett's authorized biographer and founder of the Samuel Beckett Archive)

"Notfilm is a definitive documentary account of the making of Samuel Beckett's only film work and a brilliant examination of its significance in relation to Beckett's dramatic works and to film theory. Lipman very persuasively and masterfully shows Film's continuing importance."
-- Jonathan Rosenbaum, film critic

"An outstandingly good movie, accomplished in every way... crisp and/or allusive as needed, and with such awareness of the visual dynamics. This level of accomplishment is rare." "
-- Patrick Gleeson, composer/synthesist

"A great film. It has broken into new territory."
-- James Scott, Oscar winning director, A Shocking Accident

on The Book of Paradise Has no Author

…a marvelous de-construction of ethnographic accounts of the Tasaday. Was just totally brilliant!”
-- Craig Baldwin, filmmaker/curator – Other Cinema

" (a) nimble script, Lipman explores the issues with economy, clarity and a poetic touch. Images of ancient and modern cultures are contrasted -- both illustrating the controversy over the alleged cave-dwelling Tasaday and illuminating Lipman's own philosophy that we're all in a truth-seeking tribe."
-- Victoria Ellison, LA Weekly

"In the age of fake news and countervailing appeals, Lipman makes documentary film more personal and equivocal, with performances that settle into the ambiguity of lived experience. He shuttles between the familiar and the unexpected, questions and revelations, leaving viewers with a poeticized, but not romanticized, view of history."
-- Sylvia Gindick, Los Angeles Review of Books

-- Jeffrey Skoller, filmmaker/author of Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film

“A wonderful essay film.”
-- Adele Horne, award-winning director of The Tailenders

on Keep Warm Britain! (in progress)

"Lipman’s intriguing filmed memoir of a squatting community in East London’s Docklands reveals his skillful maneuvering of visual language — a precise yet mysterious journey thru time and space. Recommended.”
-- Debra Levine, arts•meme

on The Interview

“Like Ozu and Bresson, Lipman evokes a hidden spirituality in the everyday, mystery within the concrete. A fully realized work about marginal people, made outside the margins of what people understand as cinema.”
-- Brecht Andersch, curator, Film on Film Foundation

“I loved The Interview, a very moving piece. I saw it probably two months ago but still remember not only the film itself, but many images. The style is very powerful, and the acting too. It is a beautiful work. “
-- Marina Goldovskaya, filmmaker

“exquisitely rendered in muted colors, and a soundtrack worthy of comparison to Bresson's best. Under Lipman’s direction, Babette Mangolte creates a muted atmosphere with her lighting and framing which is further enhanced by subtle color shifts affected by Lipman in the lab. The result is a psychological study of a tense moment of transition. The film is the fruit and marriage of Lipman’s earlier portrait and collage investigations with his knowledge of the film medium.”
-- Konrad Steiner, filmmaker; curator, Kino 21

“Haunting. Beautifully shot in muted, forgotten colors, this modest and unsettling short fuses repetitive dialogue, deliberately stiff performances, and an evanescent story line to create a curious and affecting work of art that plants its sly social critique so delicately that some will not notice it at all. Highly recommended.”
--Theresa Schwartzman, Venice International Film Festival

“a delicate flower of a film, but also a horror film”
-- Berenice Reynaud, critic

“a beautiful piece”
-- Gail Silva, Director, Film Arts Foundation

on Rhythm 93

“quite possibly a work of genius” -- John Columbus, Director, Black Maria Film Festival

“how lovely to see a film that’s been shot and edited, and refers to life beyond the confines of cinema—these essential qualities are absent in virtually all contemporary work”
-- Nathaniel Dorsky, filmmaker, author, Devotional Cinema

on 10-17-88

“uses deft optical printing and a fascinating musical collage to yield a densely layered combo of sound and image”
-- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader “Critic’s Choice”

on Ross Lipman’s restoration work

“Now that the restorations have been screened and the DVDs released, it's time to rain praise on Lipman. Not only has he directed his and UCLA's attention toward Anger and Charles Burnett — two filmmakers whose non-Hollywood artistry would have deteriorated and vanished otherwise — he's delivered superb restorations that will change the way you see classic works.”
-- Johnny Ray Huston, San Francisco Bay Guardian

“I would argue that he is doing some of the most important and thankless work in the film world, and as someone who has had the pleasure of seeing several of his major restorations projected in a cinema, I can attest to the remarkable difference he has made with the titles he has worked on - not only restoring them from all possible states of degradation, but preserving them for future generations.”
-- Joe Beres, curator, Walker Arts Center

On Wanda

"Wanda is one of the most gorgeous restorations I've ever seen; so clearly done with a sense of purpose and love. It was the difference between the film being "interesting" and "important" and being something absolutely extraordinary and (I've heard from a few students) life changing”
-- Gary Mairs, filmmaker/historian

On The Exiles

"a staggeringly beautiful restoration”
-- Jonathan Rosenbaum, cinema scope

“a hero to believers in true independent moviemaking”
-- Wesley Morris, Boston Globe