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Patience (After Sebald)

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Film still from Patience (After Sebald).

Today is the seventeenth anniversary of the death of W.G. Sebald, and it seemed like a good time for another shout out to Grant Gee’s excellent documentary Patience (After Sebald). I’ve watched Patience numerous times and it never fails to impress me. It’s also a sad reminder of what we lost when Sebald died suddenly at the age of 57. I wrote about Gee’s film shortly after it came out in 2011.

There are several ways to see Patience. It’s currently available on the streaming service Mubi (although, unfortunately, not in the United States). If you aren’t already a subscriber, you could take advantage of whatever promotion Mubi is offering in your location. In some locations they apparently offer a seven-day free trial subscription, while elsewhere the gambit is $1 a month for the first three months. The film is also available to Fandor subscribers. You can either rent or buy a digital version of the film on iTunes or get the DVD on Amazon.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. A timely reminder. I watched Patience 10 days ago, for the third time. I had been to Southwold, walked the cliffs[sic] at Dunwich and the old Friary. Having re-read Rings of Saturn and made a vanity purchase of Die Range Des Saturn, in Aachen, I feel at a good place with WGS. In fact, the Gee film was the motivator of the reading and the wandering.

    December 14, 2018
  2. Paul Hogan #

    Patience was a seminal moment for me, something that caught my attention in the Film 4 listings some years ago. I don’t ever remember watching something as enthralling, as an adult. Perhaps it was the voice over, the slow pace and the shots of the locations. Even now when reading WG’s books that is the voice in my head as I read the lines. I started with Rings of Saturn and am slowly working through his work – purposefully, as I know at a point soon there will be no more Sebald.

    December 15, 2018
  3. John Rasheed #

    Hello, as a new reader of your words may I say how good I feel as I read each of your pieces. So, thank you!

    I have Grant Gee’s “Patience” DVD and it is excellent especially if watched on a large screen with good audio speakers. Even Grant would agree the film is only a chimera for the real thing, namely walking over Sebald’s footsteps. Of course Sebald makes you believe it is not so difficult a walk (he occasionally mentions sore feet) however I found it a trying trek and having started at Somerleyton eventually gave up at Orfordness, meaning I had to then use transport!

    With two friends to accompany me, we debated the what and the why of each of the stories late into the night over delicious Suffolk ale. It is of course impossible not to personalise what Sebald says no matter how hard you try, and it is difficult to disassociate the landscape from the meaning, which for readers, and maybe to the chagrin of locals, is forever the Sebald landscape.

    At the Bull Inn Woodbridge I showed a copy to the landlady who had never heard of the book.

    For me it is surprising that Sebald never mentions Ludwig Boltzman, whose equation on entropy, or disorder, s=kLogW, represents the entire enterprise of human and universal decay and ought to be far more well known than e=mc2.

    As we got off the train at Somerleyton and looked at our map, the stationmaster asked us if we needed any help. We showed her the Rings of Saturn and she rolled her eyes upwards ever so slightly which naturally made us smile as it seemed to indicate that the Sebald walker was not an unusual if perhaps rather trying breed.

    best wishes
    J Rasheed
    Cambridge, England

    April 27, 2019
  4. John, Thanks so much for both your comments. I can just see the Somerleyton stationmaster rolling her eyes at the latest Sebald tourist asking directions. I had the opportunity to meet up with Grant Gee a year ago (and also to visit Cambridge for the first time – loved Kettle’s Yard, of course!), but I’ve never been to East Anglia, alas.

    April 27, 2019

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