Sebald on the Big Screen

Related: W.G. Sebald

If there’s one novel that lends itself to cinematic exploration, it’s W. G. Sebald’s beloved masterpiece The Rings of Saturn. It’s impossible not to crave to see what the narrator sees on his walking tour of the Eastern English Coast, and though the curious archive of photographs offers glimpses of the scenery, fans have always wanted more.

Lo and behold, as you can see in the video below, director Grant Gee has created a wonderful ode to the novel in the form of a feature documentary entitled Patience (After Sebald). Structured around a walk in East Anglia, the film explores the relationship between literature, landscape, history, life, and loss.

The film made its US debut at the New York Film Festival back in September, and New York Times critic A. O. Scott had this to say about it:

Grant Gee’s “Patience (After Sebald)” is, to some degree, a survey of the work of the German writer W. G. Sebald, who spent most of his career in England and whose books, blending fiction, memoir, philosophy and travel writing, defy easy classification. The film, assembling critics and colleagues to reflect on Sebald’s 1998 book, “The Rings of Saturn,” is both an essay in interpretation and an attempt to replicate the writer’s distinctive, elusive sensibility in a visual medium. “Patience (After Sebald)” tries to be both descriptive and immersive, explaining its subject even as it reproduces aspects of his style.

Needless to say, we’re very excited about this, and are even happier that it’s opening at one of our favorite theaters in New York — Film Forum. The premiere screening on May 9 will feature Rick Moody, who will introduce the film and discuss Sebald’s work. Showtimes and tickets are available here.