The Seasons in Quincy is a feature-length documentary film in four parts by the Derek Jarman Lab at Birkbeck, in collaboration with Til da Swinton, Christopher Roth and Colin MacCabe. Together, the parts constitute a film portrait of John Berger, the British writer and thinker.
In 1973 Berger abandoned the metropolis to live in the tiny Alpine village of Quincy. He realized that subsistence peasant farming, which had sustained humanity for millennia, was drawing to an historical close. He determined to spend the rest of his life bearing witness to this vanishing existence, not least by participating in it. Berger’s trilogy Into their Labours chronicles the peasant life of this Alpine village and its surrounding countryside. Our portrait places Berger in the rhythm of the seasons in Quincy.
The four parts of the film each address different strands of Berger's life and work. The first, Ways of Listening, directed by Colin MacCabe, deals with fathers and friendship. Spring, directed by Christopher Roth, considers Berger's writing on our relationship with animals in juxtaposition with the animals that surround him in the Haute Savoie. A Song for Politics, directed by Colin MacCabe and Bartek Dziadosz, reflects on politics through a conversation between Berger, Colin MacCabe, Ben Lerner, Akshi Singh and Christopher Roth. The last part, Harvest, directed by Tilda Swinton, revisits Quincy to meditate on belonging and continuity with John and his son Yves.