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This review is taken from PN Review 174, Volume 33 Number 4, March - April 2007.

IF YOU REALLY LOOK MARGARET TAIT, Selected Films 1952-1976 (LUX) £19.99

Margaret Tait declared, 'I think film is essentially a poetic medium, and although it can be put to all sorts of other - creditable and discreditable - uses, these are secondary.'

This selection of eight films, produced from newly restored prints and spanning over twenty years, all illustrate her unique approach in which she avoids the conventions of documentary film-making. These are truly independent films, made with no financial backing, and little chance of a screening. They are born from the conviction that the close examination of everyday objects can reveal their essential nature, the equal importance and interconnectedness of them all, and in this way can produce a truly poetic experience.

Margaret Tait was born in Kirkwall in Orkney in 1918. She qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1943, serving in India, Ceylon and the Far East, returning to the UK in 1946. After a spell working as a doctor, in the early 1950s she moved to Italy where she studied at the Universita Italiana per Stranieri in Perugia, and the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, founding there in 1953 her company, Ancona Films, with Peter Hollander. From 1954 to 1973 Ancona Films was based in Rose Street, Edinburgh and Tait worked mainly in Edinburgh and Orkney, producing a considerable body of work, films, poems and short stories. Her later work was mainly based in Orkney, where she died in 1999 having produced 32 films. ...

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