« Milestones » is Fire-Water-Air-Earth-People. It is a vision of America in the 1970’s and it is also a journey into the past and the future. It is a film with many characters. People who are conscious of a heritage founded on the genocide of the Indians and the slavery of the Black Man. A nation of people – trying to correct the errors of the present – the attempted genocide of the Vietnamese people.
« Milestones » is a complex Proustian mosaic of characters and landscape which weave together to form the fabric of the film. There are many scenes in many cities, faces and voices with endings but many beginnings. The film crosses America from the snow-covered mountains of Vermont, to the waterfalls of Utah, to the caves of the Hopi Indians, and the dirt and grime and energy of New York City.
« Milestones » is a film about Rebirth. It is the rebirth of ideas and faces, of images and sounds. The molded clay of a blind potter is the rebirth of the soil. The deep snow is a promise of spring to come. The birth of a child is symbolic as well as a visual rebirth of the film itself, and a film within the film about the heroic Vietnamese people, is a tribute to their revolutionnary struggle, their victory, and their future.
As one of the early members of the Newsreel collective, John Douglas took part in militant filmmaking in the 60s and 70s before becoming involved in two films about the U.S.-mounted invasion of Granada (Stand Up, Granada, 1979 ; Granada : the Future Coming Towards Us, 1983). While continuing his militant activities, he extended his work to video and multimedia as of the early 90s (the photo series, Homeland Security, 2007).
U.S.-born Robert Kramer made his first film, FALN, in 1965. With In the Country (1966) and most of all Milestones (1975), Robert Kramer become the leading representative of radical filmmaking in America. But at the same time he gradually began an exile that led him to settle in France, where in 1980, he made Guns. In 1982, he represented France at the Cannes Film Festival with A toute allure. He occasionally acted in films, notably in Cédric Kahn’s L’Ennui. He died before the release of his film, Cités de la plaine in January 2001.