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Spotlight on John Berger

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival has put together an impromptu tribute to John Berger, just two months after his death. The tribute includes the screening of two documentaries, a painting exhibition and a special event, jointly organized with Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art.

John Berger was born on 5 November 1926 in London. He studied painting and began his career as a painter, but quickly switched over to art criticism and literature. He wrote novels, essays on art and politics, poems, philosophical treatises, film scripts and plays. In 1972 he ushered in a new kind of TV documentary with the BBC program “Ways of Seeing,” which was adapted into a book and which had a decisive influence on art theory as well as on the evolution of painting, photography and cinema. That same year, John Berger won the Booker for his novel “G.“ He pledged half his prize money to the Black Panthers, triggering a firestorm. He played a crucial role in the Swiss New Wave with his film scripts for Alain Tanner, put forth avant-garde theories on photography, and appeared as an actor in films. In recent years, together with his daughter Katya, he created an unclassifiable “theatrical essay” which he presented himself at the Festival of Avignon and at the Prado. From the mid-seventies, John Berger lived humbly, in a small village in the French Alps, following the daily life of the livestock breeders, writing ceaselessly and intervening, through his articles and books, in the world political and art scene.

​He died in Paris on 2 January 2017.

1.  John Berger or the Art of Looking / Cordelia Dvorak, Germany
2.  The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger / Colin MacCabe, Christopher Roth, Bartek Dziadosz, Tilda Swinton, UK
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