Daily Archives: February 15, 2019

BACK AND FORTH (1976 review)

From Monthly Film Bulletin , September 1976, Vol. 43, No. 512. — J.R.

Director: Michael Snow

Canada, 1969

Dist–London Film-makers Co-op /Cinegate. conceived and executed by– Michael Snow. In colour. ed–Michael Snow. sd–Darvin Studio. with– Allan Kaprow, Emmett Williams, Max Neuhaus, Terri Marsala, Donna Aughey, Joyce Wieland, Louis Commitzer, George Murphy, Dr. Gordon, Liba Bayrak, Anne Scotty, Nancy Graves, Richard Serra, John Giorno, Paul Iden, Alison Knowles, Jud Yalkut, Susan Ay-O, Mac, students in the HEP program at Farleigh Dickinson University. 1,872 ft. 52 mins.

(16 mm.)

Alternative titleBack and Forth

The camera pans back and forth across an outside wall of a classroom while a man crosses part of the field. The pan resumes inside the classroom in a fixed trajectory, revealing an asymmetrical area including part of a blackboard and a door on a far wall, two pairs of windows on the wall closer to the camera, and desks in front of the blackboard; trees, building and occasionally passing vehicles are partially visible through the doors and windows.

Throughout, one hears the sound of the camera’s mechanisms, including a loud report at the beginning and end of each pan. Various cuts emphasise that certain parts of individual pans, or entire pans, or a number in series, were filmed at different times.… Read more »

Edinburgh Encounters

From Sight and Sound, Winter 1975/1976; also reprinted in my first collection, Placing Movies: The Practice of Film Criticism. — J.R.

Edinburgh Encounters:

A Consumers/Producers Guide-in-Progress to Four Recent Avant-Garde Films

 

The role of a work of art is to plunge people into horror. If the artist has a role, it is to confront people — and himself first of all — with this horror, this feeling that one has when one learns about the death of someone one has loved.

 — Jacques Rivette interview, circa 1967

 

For interpersonal communication, [the modernist text] substitutes the idea of collective production; writer and reader are indifferently critics of the text and it is through their collaboration that meanings are collectively produced . . .

The text then becomes the location of thought, rather than the mind. The mind is the factory where thought is at work, rather than the transport system which conveys the finished product. Hence the danger of the myths of clarity and transparency and of the receptive mind; they present thought as prepackaged, available, given, from the point of view of the consumer . . .Within a modernist text, however, all work is work in progress, the circle is never closed.Read more »