Now Available: A New Digital Restoration of Lynne Sachs’s Investigation of a Flame

Posted August 29th, 2023 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Digital Files, News / Events

Canyon is pleased to announce that a new digital restoration of Lynne Sachs’s Investigation of a Flame (2001), an intimate, experimental documentary portrait of the Catonsville Nine, is now available. Praised by The Los Angeles Times as “A complex rumination on the power of protest,” and hailed by The Village Voice‘s Phillip Lopate as the best documentary of 2001, Investigation of a Flame combines volatile, long-unseen, archival footage with interviews with Daniel and Philip Berrigan and other members of the Catonsville Nine, encouraging viewers to ponder the relevance of civil disobedience and the implications of personal sacrifice today.

Restoration work done with the assistance of Bill Brand.

Investigation of a Flame (Lynne Sachs, 2001, 45 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

On May 17, 1968, nine Vietnam War protesters led by Daniel and Philip Berrigan, walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records, and burned them with homemade napalm.

Investigation of a Flame is an intimate, experimental documentary portrait of the Catonsville Nine, this disparate band of resisters who chose to break the law in a defiant, poetic act of civil disobedience.

How did the photos, trial publicity, and news of the two-year prison sentences help to galvanize a disillusioned American public? Investigation of a Flame explores this politically and religiously motivated performance of the 1960’s in the context of extremely different times – times in which critics of Middle East peace agreements, abortion, and technology resort to violence of the most random and sanguine kind in order to access the public imagination.