When Lynne Sachs celebrated her 50th birthday, she wasn’t concerned about an impending midlife crisis. Instead, she decided to celebrate with 11 New Yorkers she had never met.
For her latest documentary, “Tip of My Tongue,” Sachs gathered a diverse group of men and women from different countries including Iran, Cuba and Australia, who shared one thing in common: age.
Together with Sachs, the group discussed strange and revealing moments of their lives in which uncontrollable events –– outside their own domestic universe –– have impacted who they all have become.
“Tip of My Tongue” will screen at the Wexner Center for the Arts Wednesday in the latest installment of its “Visiting Filmmakers” series.
Sachs is known for creating films, videos, installations and web projects that explore the relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. She also has a habit of weaving together poetry, collaging, painting, politics, and layered sound design.
Sachs wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, and guided her collaborators across the landscapes of their memories from the Vietnam War protests, to the Anita Hill hearings, to the Columbine massacre, and all the way to Occupy Wall Street, according to her website.
“I am happiest when my film ‘characters’ explore storytelling from various subjectivities,” Sachs said. “[To explore their] various selves and other selves … is a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, situation or place.”
The Wexner Center prides itself on bringing acclaimed filmmakers like Sachs to screen their works because it believes it is one of few institutions supporting this type of work, said David Filipi, director of film and video at the Wexner Center.
“We make it a priority to support personal filmmakers like Lynne, both by screening their films as well as providing post-production support to some through our studio program,” Filipi said. “There are fewer and fewer venues supporting this type of work, which makes it all the more imperative that we provide an opportunity for these types of films to be screened and seen by audiences in our region.”
Sachs said she chose to screen “Tip of My Tongue” because she believes Ohio State is in the small minority of universities with acclaimed museums.
“There are only two state universities in the United States that have extraordinary, world-class museums — the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [at University of California, Berkeley] and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State,” Sachs said. “I have had the honor to screen my films at both institutions, and have been deeply moved by my interactions with the students and members of the public who fill the seats in these theaters.”
Filipi said Ohio State students might be surprised and intrigued by what Lynne captures with her film.
“Right now, you’re surrounded by your friends and peers, and your shared experiences are immediately recognizable… [but eventually], your friend and peer group isn’t always as present and there are other commitments and distractions that accumulate as you get older,” Filipi said. “Lynne has a very personal approach to documentary, and this is one of the traits that sets her films apart from others.”
Gathering a group of middle-aged adults from all backgrounds allows the theme of self-reflection and recounting one’s own memories to drive the entire film.
“In ‘Tip of My Tongue’ I tried to dig down into my own and my collaborators’ pain and joy … I was looking for surprising intimacy that is different from simply ‘telling the truth,’” Sachs said. “To bare my own soul, I needed to begin with my own poetry and then move onto something more visual –– I wanted my camera to express this intimacy.”
The screening of “Tip of My Tongue” will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Wexner Center. Admission is $6 for students and $8 for the general public.