“In a sense, it could be said that P. Adams Sitney grew up with the New American Cinema, for while still a school boy he was already spending weekends in New York City cutting his teeth on the films of Marie Menken, Willard Maas, Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren and began his twenty-year association with the Lithuanian poet, Jonas Mekas. By the time he was eighteen, his first articles began appearing in Film Culture for which he edited the famous Stan Brakhage issue which contained what has become the primary manifesto of the American Avant-Garde Cinema, Brakhage's ‘Metaphors on Vision.' Since then Sitney has gone on to edit three volumes of film criticism, ‘The Film Culture Reader,' ‘The Essential Cinema' and ‘The Avant Garde Film, A Reader of Theory and Criticism.' He is also author of ‘Visionary Film,' a deeply personal and deliciously literate history of the avant-garde cinema.
“Not a reviewer of films, Sitney's observations appear often years after the fact, after many careful viewings of the films he discusses. Sitney is that rare variety of critic, one who is an artist, with the sensibilities and urgings which inform much of the enduring art of any age. Probably more than any other critic, his work has contributed to the elevation of film to its place of dignity among the other arts; even amid the confusion of fads, movements and art-as-a-game routines which occur in any kind of rigorous milieu. For Sitney no film - no work of art - exists by itself or only in its own time, but achieves its importance in relation to the many arts of many times.
“As a film theorist, P. Adams Sitney has lectured extensively throughout this country on the entire history of cinema. In the sixties, he travelled throughout Europe and South America with several hours of American independent films. He did his undergraduate work in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit and holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University. Like his writing, his lectures are intelligent, challenging and seductive, leading one into a deeper understanding of the films themselves.”
-Carmen Vigil, Program Director of The Cinematheque, San Francisco