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52nd edition

Back And Forth

Fortnight 1970, Short film, 45'


This is the worst kind of art film. BACK AND FORTH takes place almost entirely in an empty classroom. Various people show up now and then. The gimmick here is that the camera continuously moves back and forth, at an ever-increasing rate of speed, and by the end of the picture everything’s just a blur. And then, just when you can’t take it any more, the camera begins moving UP AND DOWN! You see, the patterns of nature are not merely horizontal–they’re VERTICAL! Whatever…


Michael Snow

Central figure of the American avant-garde. An artist who made an isolated animated short, A to Z (1956), Snow concentrated on his painting career until moving to New York in 1963. After attending avant-garde film screenings organized by critic-filmmaker Jonas Mekas and turning out a second film, the formalist New York Eye and Ear Control (1964), he made the highly influential Wavelength (1967). WAVELENGTH consists of a 45-minute zoom across a loft–interruped at several points by a cryptic narrative involving a murder–which ends on a close-up of a photograph of ocean waves. The film quickly earned a reputation in international avant-garde circles and inspired a generation of structuralist filmmakers. It was the first in a series of Snow’s works which reduce the film medium to one of its most basic elements–camera movement: Standard Time (1967) is made up of 360-degree pans; in _Back and Forth (1969)_, the camera moves backwards and forwards at varying speeds, recording events in a classroom; in Région centrale, La (1971), Snow’s remote-controlled camera, mounted on a tripod in the middle of the Quebec tundra, executes 360 degree rotations in three different circular patterns (at various speeds) while zooming in and out.

Prod. Michael Snow Box 199 Church Str. Sta. New York, N.Y.10008