Scientific Committee

Bruce Baillie

Bruce Baillie (1931-2020) was an influential experimental filmmaker, who also developed the film industry by founding Canyon Cinema and the San Francisco Cinematheque. His archive and legacy were acquired by Stanford University in 2012. Bruce Baillie's Mr. Hayashi could be seen as an East Coast story transformed by a West Coast sensibility. The story, light-hearted as it is, is a kind of social critique, dramatizing the difficulty of the main character, a Japanese gardener, to find a properly paid job. But the beauty of Baillie's black-and-white photography, the hazy lushness of the landscapes he chooses to photograph, and the powerful silence of Mr. Hayashi's figure within these landscapes make the viewer forget all about economics and ethnicity. The shots remind us of the Sung scrolls of fields and mountain peaks, where the human figure is dwarfed in the distance. Rather than a study the unemployed, the film becomes a study in interlocking layers of calm and serenity.