Retrospective: Michael Snow

Filmmuseum Munich, 22-24/5/2014 – The programme

Find here the programme as PDF download (in German language only)!

Wednesday 05/21

6.30 Uhr p.m.

Canada 1967 — D+B+C: Michael Snow — M: Tom Wolff — With: Hollis Frampton, Lynne Grossmann, Naoto Nakazawa, Amy Taubin, Joyce Wieland — 45 min. — OV — 16mm
This film is a continuous zoom which takes forty-five minutes to go from its widest field to its smallest and final field. It was shot with a fixed camera from one end of an eighty-foot loft, shooting the other end, a row of windows and a street. Thus, the setting and the action which takes place there are cosmically equivalent. The room (and the zoom) are interrupted by four human events including a death. The sound on these occasions is sync sound – music and speech occurring simultaneously with an electronic sound, a sine wave, which goes from its lowest rate to its highest. It is a total glissando, while the film is a crescendo and a dispersed spectrum – so the film as a whole attempts to utilize the gifts of both prophecy and memory, which only film and music have to offer. (Michael Snow)

*Corpus Callosum
Canada 2002 — D+B: Michael Snow — C: Harald Bachmann, Robbi Hinds — With: Jacqueline Anderson, Greg Hermanovic, John Massey, Kim Plate, Tom Sherman — 92 min. — OV
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, depicts, 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 tragic-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). (Michael Snow)

Thursday 05/22 – Underdox Halftime

7.00 p.m.

La région centrale
Canada 1971 — D+B: Michael Snow — Camera Roboter: Pierre Abbeloos — 180 min. — OV — 16mm
I started to think about exterior spaces and arrived at the idea of making a landscape film that would be a true film, not an imitation of painting. It seemed that what would be properly derived from the idea of doing something outside was camera movement in a totally 360-degree space. I spent almost a year looking for someone who could solve this and finally found Pierre Abbeloos. He built a machine to my specs in the sense that I told him what kind of motions and speeds it should be capable of and that it had to be operable through remote control. I didn’t want anything made by humans, because the peopling of space should occur in your mind. I didn’t want buildings, because that would be a human form and I wanted the camera to make the form. (Michael Snow)
In presence of Michael Snow
Following reception at the Stadtcafé

Friday 05/23

6.30 p.m.

<---> (Back and Forth)
Canada 1969 — D+B: Michael Snow — With: Allan Karpow, Emmet Williams, Max Neuhaus, Joyce Wieland, Luis Camnitzer — 54 min. — OV — 16mm
It’s a classroom, and it’s built first on left-to-right and right-to-left continuous pans with the camera on a tripod. It starts at a medium tempo, slows down, then gradually picks up speed to very fast; there’s a cut to an up and down pan in the same space at the same high speed then it gradually slows down to a stop. The gesture of BACK AND FORTH is a “yes” or “no” gesture and includes such relationships as teacher/student and male/female. The film is about reciprocities, balances, oscillations. BACK AND FORTH also features something I continue to be involved in which is themes and variations. That’s one of the things jazz has always done and, in another way, that’s what I’ve done in film. (Michael Snow)

So Is This
Canada 1983 — D+B: Michael Snow — 43 min. — OV — 16mm
A silent film of 45 minutes consisting of single words of this script or score placed on the screen one by one, one after another, for specific lengths of time. It’s just words; it’s a written text, but the style is conversational, as if you’re sort of blabbing to someone. I think it says that actually, “it’s just between you and me.” Several different strategies were employed on timing words/passages of the film. Image quality changes too, and the situation of an audience reading a film is a special one, not to be duplicated by reading this. I was trying to catch most of the “this” words as I filmed, trying to make new arrangements. Again, it’s a theme and variation thing; a new elaboration of what’s already been stated. (Michael Snow)
In presence of Michael Snow

Saturday 05/24

6.30 p.m.

Canada 1981 — D+B: Michael Snow — C: Keith Lock, Michael Snow — With: Jane Fellows — 98 min. — OV — 16mm
PRESENTS has something like three different modes in it. There is pushing and stretching, the tracking of the set, which because of convention you think of as camera movement, but you can see that the set is moving, then there is the smashing up of the set, followed by almost an hour of hand held pans which are from all over the world. Each one the pans is a different reaction to the scene with the camera. So that if the camera was moving in one way you might follow it or if the shape was round you would shoot it in a round way. One of the things I wanted to do was to cut each pan so that there would be no continuity from shot to shot, so they were isolated in time and space as these little instants taken from life. (Michael Snow)
In presence of Michael Snow