“We can’t say why we search, except that there seems to be an innate need in each human being to know who one is, what we’re here for, how to live more poetically.”
William Segal (1904-2000) was a philosopher, publisher, writer and painter who searched relentlessly and compassionately for meaning in the chaotic and distracted time we call the 20th Century. The student of such diverse masters as G.I. Gurdjieff and D.T. Suzuki, Segal helped bring Eastern and Western spiritual traditions together, always stressing what connected humanity rather than what differentiated it. In the last decade of his life, Segal befriended Ken Burns, and the two collaborated on a film trilogy.
William Segal 1992
William Segal, the first documentary in the trilogy, is filmed in Segal’s art studio and garden. The film focuses on Mr. Segal as he paints and discusses the creative process and the intimate personal and spiritual relationship between the artist and the work of art.
The magnificent basilica at Vézelay in France has lured pilgrims from around the world for centuries. Its magnetism and serene beauty inspired Segal and Burns to examine the expansive question of search. Vézelay joyously probes the eternal question of individual identity and the obstacles and exhilarations of seeing, searching and being.
In the Marketplace 2000
In the Marketplace was shot throughout the streets of Paris and follows Segal’s everyday life. The film visits the painter working in his studio and in a gallery as he prepares an exhibition of his lithographs. In his on-camera interviews, Segal talks about his life and the practices he uses to live in the moment, embracing all that is around him.