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Garden Pieces

Margaret Tait

UK, 1998
12 minutes, Colour, Sound, 4:3
Original format: 16mm film
Available formats: 16mm / DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file

A triptych of contrasting moods. Margaret Tait’s last film is a vibrant live-action and hand-drawn garden portrait.”Garden Pieces is a set of three pieces:Round the Garden is literally a look right round a back garden, from a central point, repeated da capo. As a garden, it’s a place of potentiality still, but it is a place all right.Fliers is an animated piece, scratched-on, with added dyes.Grove, the longest of the three, studies and contemplates a group of trees planted maybe sixty years ago in a disused quarry.An original score by John Gray, written with that very grove in mind, will provide the music for all three pieces. The music is to have equal prominence with the picture.” – MT”Round the Garden, the first of the three, was begun in the early 1980s or even before that. A 360° pan right round the garden at the back of the house where I then lived was the start of it. I got that shot (which in fact had two joins in it) duplicated, and for a while that was it – the original followed by the dupe. Later the titles were made and the sound thought about.Some time in there I made some trials for the method I was to use in Fliers, and started handscratching on the emulsion of 16mm light struck stock the animated sequences of fliers of one kind and another. Then in collaboration with the lab (Filmatic Ltd) colour was added by means of grading filters.It was the summer of ’95 that I was screening for Ute Aurand several of the shorts that she hadn’t seen before. She had already put on shows in Germany of what was available through the London Film Co-op. I showed her the two little garden pieces, silent; she liked them and urged me to continue with a third one. I had to think of it afresh and bring camera and editing equipment back into use and into working order.Summer/Autumn ’97 I was shooting what I needed for Grove. At the same time I got John Gray interested in composing music for all three. In the end he saw it as three related piano pieces. All went ahead and the first print of the set of 3 Garden Pieces were ready by the end of July ’98.” – Margaret Tait(‘Poem Film Film Poem’ No. 5 December 1999)

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