I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard
Directed & Produced by Matt Wolf
24 minutes | 2012

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I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard from Matt Wolf on Vimeo.

Modesty, whimsy, and clarity of design grace the work of Joe Brainard (1941-1994), an artist and writer whose evocations of memory and desire perhaps found their greatest expression in his memoir-poem I Remember. Composed of a sequence of brief recollections, the poem’s standardized format admits an incredible variety of images and feelings: "I remember Greyhound buses at night...I remember candy cigarettes like chalk...I remember leaning up against walls in queer bars...” Brainard's many drawings, collages, assemblages, and paintings, as well as his short essays and verbal-visual collaborations were celebrated during his lifetime before he stopped making art in the mid-1980s.

Filmmaker Matt Wolf returns to this iconic poem in his film I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard. His archival montage combines audio recordings of Brainard reading from the poem, as well as an interview with his lifelong friend and collaborator, the poet Ron Padgett. The result is an inventive biography of Joe Brainard, and an elliptical dialog about friendship, nostalgia, and the strange wonders of memory. I Remember was commissioned by Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies and screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, BAM Cinemafest, The Kitchen, MoMA PS1, ICA London, and other festivals and museums.

Press & Reviews

“Combining a voice-over reading, an interview with Brainard’s friend, the poet Ron Padgett, and judiciously edited bits of vintage footage, the filmmaker Matt Wolf achieves that rarest of beasts: an effective translation from page to screen.” -New York Times

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