by Jacki Ochs
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"Home," "poverty," "window," are among the everyday words discussed in a five-year correspondence between American poet Lyn Hejinian and Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. They reflect on each word, considering its conventional meaning and what it means to them personally. The resulting extraordinary five-year dialogue is by turns poignant, profound and funny. Both poets move seamlessly from present to past, a move echoed by the use of striking new and archival footage from both countries. As the film progresses and intimacy grows, both the similarities and differences between Russian and American ways of grasping the world are revealed. Letters Not About Love becomes both a fascinating portrait of two cultures and a compelling expression of the art of mutual understanding.
Ochs' award-winning documentary Vietnam: The Secret Agent received the Special Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival and premiered at the New York Film Festival, among many other honors. She produced 9/12: From Chaos to Community for Eleventh Hour Films, cited as a Best Documentary 2007 by Video Librarian Magazine. Jacki executive produced the award winning film Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been broadcast worldwide.