“Losing Ground” Gains a New Audience
Sara (Seret Scott) is a prim and proper philosophy professor at a New York City university. Her husband, Victor (Bill Gunn), is a painter with a wandering eye. When the sale of a painting brings in enough money for a summer rental upstate, Victor soon finds a young muse whose presence threatens the marriage. Sara faces a choice whether to tolerate Victor’s infidelities or break with him to explore her own passions. Made in 1982, by the late Kathleen Collins, “Losing Ground” is more than just a domestic drama. It is a meditation on the life of the mind, the arts, and the institution of marriage.
Aspects of the film are dated and the earnest young men who appear in Sara’s classroom at the beginning of the film–and a female student who visits her later–don’t seem fully dimensional. But the difficulties encountered by Sara and her struggle to balance work, art, and love are timeless. Losing Ground also stars Duane Jones (Night of the Leaving Dead), as Sara’s potential love interest and dance partner in the student film she agrees to act in.
Losing Ground will have week-long run (the film’s first) in conjunction with Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (February 6-15.)
A Q&A discussion with Nina Collins, the filmmaker’s daughter; cinematographer Ronald K. Gray; and actress Seret Scott, is scheduled for the 8:30pm show on February 6.