PORTRAIT OF GA, a

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Margaret Tait – Selected Films 1952-1976

Margaret Tait was one of Britain’s most unique filmmakers. Her life’s work consisted of making film poems and over the course of 46 years she produced over 30 films including one feature. She also published three books of poetry and two volumes of short stories. This DVD contains a collection of films made by Tait between 1952 and 1976. Films included on this DVD are:

Portrait of Ga (1952),
Aerial (1974),
Hugh MacDiarmid,
A Portrait (1964),
Colour Poems (1974),
Where I Am Is Here (1964),
Place of Work (1976),
Tailpiece (1976),
John Macfadyen (The Stripes in the Tartan) (1970)

Black-and-white and colour
Silent and sound
Running time: 110 minutes

£10.00

In stock

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Places:

  • Orkney Islands

Subjects:

  • Celts and celtic culture
  • Home life
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Landscapes and seascapes
  • Agriculture

Genres:

  • Documentary
  • Experimental
  • Women film makers

People/organisations:

  • TAIT, Margaret

Decade:

  • 1950s

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ROSE STREET
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LIFE IN THE ORKNEYS
1957 | bw | sound

Related biographies

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Title: PORTRAIT OF GA, a

Reference number: 3698

Date: 1952

Director: filmed by Margaret Tait

Production company: Ancona Films

Sound: sound

Colour: col

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 4.27 mins

Description: The 'Ga' of the title refers to the film maker's mother. The film gathers together this elderly lady's everyday actions to offer an abstract insight into her life.

Margaret Tait described this film as follows: 'My mother seemed a good subject for a portrait, (she was there), and I thought it offered a chance to do a sort of 'abstract film', in the sense that it didn't have what you might call 'the grammar of film'. It's mostly discontinuous shots linked just by subject, in one case by colour, only rarely by movement'.

See also Additional Information file at 11/1/455. Paper Archives 4/5/119, 4/11/651, 4/5/92.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

Online tour of this title, interpreted by contemporary Scottish writer Ali Smith can be found on the LUX website at: http://www.luxonline.org.uk/tours/margaret_tait(5).html [last accessed 3/4/2008]

"...the first film to show her authentic imprint was the product of a summer holiday back on Orkney, where she trapped images of her mother walking and skipping along a road, accompanied by a non-sync recording of her lilting Orcadian voice - Portrait of Ga (1952)..."
[Source: taken from an online resource. No longer available. 3/4/2008]

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/avantgarde based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library http://www.bfi.org.uk holds many of the published articles on her and her work.

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Credits: [nar. Margaret Tait
m. played by Alastair MacCourt]

Shotlist: [shotlisted from viewing copy 1]

title gvs Margaret Tait's mother in different situations, often with frequent points of view and camera angles. Includes footage of her in field, smoking and c/u hands 'conducting' music with her hands [as clarinet plays on soundtrack], drinking tea and smoking, sitting on seat, skipping along road, carefully unwrapping a boiled sweet, attending to flowers in the garden, dancing and reading outdoors [includes voice commentary by Margaret Tait during last sequence 'My mother lives in the windy Orkney Islands. It's certainly a wonderful place to be brought up in'] (4.27)

[Margaret Tait described this film as follows: 'My mother seemed a good subject for a portrait, (she was there), and I thought it offered a chance to do a sort of 'abstract film', in the sense that it didn't have what you might call 'the grammar of film'. It's mostly discontinuous shots linked just by subject, in one case by colour, only rarely by movement'.]