Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Unexpected Turn of Jim Sagel

More than a documentary or a biography of sorts, "The Unexpected Turn of Jim Sagel" is a poem in itself: a video meditation on the life and early death of renowned writer Jim Sagel, whose literature, written in his non-native Spanish, received awards and recognition in Spain and various countries in Latin America. He was a poet, fiction writer, essayist, Northern New Mexico passionate, translator, and a highly respected teacher who inspired many to tell their own story.

Through interviews, old footage, quotes and texts read by Jim Sagel himself, video artist Pilar Rodríguez Aranda dreamily weaves his achievements, as well as his emotional upheavals, the tale of an artist who chose to keep his manic-depression a secret, leaving behind many unanswered questions.

Jim Sagel successfully crossed a major cultural bridge and wrote about it masterfully, we have his books to learn from his life and his words. Can we also learn from his silence and death?


What a remarkable tribute you have produced! I felt moved to laugh, to cry, and to mourn the loss of the remarkable human being I realized (with your help) that I barely knew. Thank you for creating this lasting testimony to Jim and his gifts.

Richard Mahler, writer.

I thought it was brilliant, wonderful, as I knew it would be and even better. 
Joan Logghe, Santa Fe Poet Laureate. 

Compadre de corazón 
The "Real" New Mexico 
Unexpected Turn, the book 
Jim Sagel Papers @ The University of Texas at Austin