A Retrospective of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing.

The NFT is hosting a homage to John Berger’s seminal study on European art.  The first episode explores the 1970s love of selective cutting and pasting  from masterpieces to sell products or manipulate an emotional response.  Episode Two explores the way women are used in European art to promote their bodies as objects.  Both still stand up after nearly forty years and are essential viewing for a new generation.

Julia Pascal


Tue 3 Apr 18:20 NFT2

Ways of Seeing + Q&A

BBC 1972.  Dir Michael Dibb.  4 x 28min.

Copyright restrictions surrounding the hundreds of paintings and advertising images quoted in Ways of Seeing have rendered it impossible to release the series on DVD.  Though Berger would, perhaps, appreciate the irony, this has caused the original television series to be overshadowed by the tie-in book, with the former enjoyable only in grainy bootleg copies.  Here we show all four episodes, back to back.

Followed by a Q&A with Michael Dibb, director of Ways of Seeing, and still collaborating with Berger

Wed 4 Apr 17:50 NFT3

A Fortunate Man

UK 1972.  Dir Jeff Perks.  33min

+ Another Way of Telling: Views on Photography

Pt1, Pt3 & Pt4.  BBC 1989.  Dir John Christie.  3 x 30min

In A Fortunate Man Berger and the photographer Jean Mohr documented the daily life of a country doctor.  The collaboration marked both men deeply, not least because of the suicide of their subject.  ‘He was a man so interested in trying to alleviate suffering’, Berger notes, ‘that he couldn’t stand happiness’.  Separated by two decades, these documentaries trace Berger’s developing relationship with the photographic medium.

Wed 11 Apr 20:20 NFT2

About Time: Once Upon A Time

Channel Four-Third Eye Productions 1985.  Dir Michael Dibb.  40min

+ A Telling Eye: The Work of John Berger

BBC-Hawkshead-Belbo Films 1994.  Dir Michael Dibb.  60min

+ Face to Face

BBC 1995.  Prod David Herman.  40min

In 1962 Berger left London to settle in a remote village in the French Alps.  His relationship with the viewer became confiding, though no less intense.  Directed by Ways of Seeing’s Mike Dibb, Once Upon A Time and A Telling Eye combine discussion of drawings and photographs with autobiographical reflections.  We finish with Jeremy Isaacs’ 1995 interview, which comes closest to this increasingly reclusive figure.