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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

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.