Michael Snow

Michael Snow – To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991)

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To Lavoisier Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991) is a collaboration with filmmaker Carl Brown, who specializes in homebrewed chemical film development. In a series of tableaux, people perform everyday tasks — sleeping, dining, reading, card-playing — as the camera arcs past and over them (the replete set of positions recalls La région centrale’s movements). Brown abraded the film stock, creating a continuous dynamic surface-effect tension with the comparatively static views and cueing the soundtrack, the crackle of fire. The physics and chemistry of combustion were the scientific focus of Lavoisier, the 18th-century savant. Read More »

Michael Snow – *Corpus Callosum (2002)

The corpus callosum is a central region of tissue in the human brain which passes “messages“ between the two hemispheres. Corpus Callosum, the film (or tape, or projected light work), is constructed of, de-picts, creates, examines, presents, consists of, and is, “betweens.“ Between beginning and ending, between “natural“ and “artificial,“ between fiction and fact, between hearing and seeing, between 1956 and 2002. It’s a tragi-comedy of the cinematic variables. Corpus Callosum juxtaposes or counterpoints a realism of normal metamorphosis (two extreme examples: pregnancy, explosions) in believable, “real“ interior spaces with “impossible“ shape changes (some made possible with digital animation). Read More »

Michael Snow – La Région Centrale (1971)

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«La Région Centrale» was made during five days of shooting on a deserted mountain top in North Quebec. During the shooting, the vertical and horizontal alignment as well as the tracking speed were all determined by the camera’s settings. Anchored to a tripod, the camera turned a complete 360 degrees, craned itself skyward, and circled in all directions. Because of the unconventional camera movement, the result was more than merely a film that documented the film location’s landscape. Surpassing that, this became a film expressing as its themes the cosmic relationships of space and time. Cataloged here were the raw images of a mountain existence, plunged (at that time) in its distance from civilization, embedded in cosmic cycles of light and darkness, warmth and cold. Read More »

Michael Snow – Wavelength (1967)

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Michael Snow
«Wavelength»

With his film «Wavelength,» Michael Snow revolutionized the international Avant-garde film scene like no other production. Viewed from its basic concept, this is a purely «formal» film: it consists of a single, 45-minute-long tracking shot through the length of a room, accompanied by slowly-increasing sine tones.[…] As the camera moves forward through the room’s space (when carefully studied the movement is not continuous, but made up of individual passages edited together), one registers the passing of several nights and days. The camera is ultimately moving toward a spot between two windows at the back of the room, where a photograph on the wall shows the unsettled surface of the sea; in the end, the camera comes so close to it that only the waves fill the screen. Read More »