Close Up

25 February 2023: Close-Up on Danny Lyon Programme 3


Programme 3

Born to Film
Danny Lyon, 1982, 33 min

“Splicing the past against the present, Lyon reveals parallels across time that uncover universality from intimate moments. This glide through his lineage showcases an unwavering wonder with the world, one that informs his practice in much the same way it did his father’s camera-play. Speaking, “Like father like son, take one,” before clapping the slate and letting tiny Raphael take control of the camera with his toy sailboat and inquisitive cuteness, Lyon’s film becomes a collaborative accumulation of kindred fascinations.” – Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer

Media Man
Danny Lyon and Nancy Lyon, 1994, 58 min

“In which the filmmakers age five years in the production. Media Man begins in the filmmaker’s garden where Danny Lyon is growing “blemish free tomatoes” in the expectation of Jesse Helms, or “someone from the NEA” coming to dinner. Then smashing a larger rotten pumpkin, Lyon announces that he is making “a film about America. The Good America.” Then all hell breaks loose.” – D.L.

Danny Lyon, 2005, 30 min

Murderers tells the story of five murderers in three different states. Beginning in New York City's East River in Manhattan, we meet Jessie Ruiz, fishing for stripers. Jessie is out after serving 8 and half years, for beating a man to death with a baseball bat. “I didn't kill him,” he explains, “he died on his own.” Inside the Tucker Unit of an Arkansas prison we meet Pinkie who talks of the many executions he saw during eight years on Death Row, and Mojo, who has done Thirteen years, because he was with his friend when the friend murdered both his adoptive parents. Then Harold Davey Cassel, a.k.a, ‘Dinker,’ the hero of Lyon's book, Like a Thief's Dream describes a murder he watched in the bathroom. The film ends in New Mexico with Michael Guzman, who first appeared in Danny Lyon's 1983 film Willie, describing with devastating emotion the abuse he suffered as a child. Guzman has been in for 25 years. This is a work of Dostoyevskian power and subtlety, with music that underscores the pathos of the film.” – D.L.

Screening as part of our Close-Up on Danny Lyon programme