Thursday, August 2, 2007

la région centrale, the great religious work

michael snow, la région centrale 1971

some ideas found in the michael snow project: the collected writings of michael snow, wilfred laurier university press, 1994:

the camera is an instrument which has expressive possibilities in itself. i want to make a gigantic landscape film equal in terms to the great landscape paintings of cezanne, poussin, corot, monet, matisse and in canada the group of seven. (page 53)

i wanted to make a film in which what the camera-eye did in the space would be completely appropriate to what it saw, but at the same time equal to it. cezanne, for instance, produced an, to say the least, incredibly balanced relationship between what he did and what he (apparently) saw. (page 57)

one of the titles i considered was !?432101234?! (an adaptation of a sculpture title), by which i meant that as you move down in dimensions you approach zero and in this film, la régioncentrale, that zero point is the absolute centre, nirvanic zero, being the ecstatic centre of a complete sphere. you see, the camera moves around an invisible point completely in 360 degrees, not only horizontally but in every direction and on every plane of a sphere. not only does it move in predirected orbits and spirals but it itself turns, rolls and spins. so there are circles within circles and cycles within cycles. eventually there is no gravity. the film is a cosmic strip. (page 58)

within the terms of my work i had in the back of my mind great religious works like bach's st matthew passion, b minor mass, st john passion, ascension oratorio. what an artist! i wish he could hear and see la région centrale.* (page 58)

* raymond queneau's great book exercises in style was inspired by bach's the art of the fugue.

(found a small excerpt of the film on this nice site.
for more book information, look at my older post)


sroden said...

wow. this is great. i'd never seen anything but stills. thanks a ton for posting this, snow's films still seem underrated, and are impossible to see. i have a dream of teaching a film class of avant garde films i've never seen, just so i can finally see some of these things projected...

the art of memory said...

i would attend that class, sounds great.
i was lucky in undergrad that the film library was pretty amazing, and they rented 16mm films like they were going out of style (they were).
do they show much in la? at one of the schools?
snow doesn't exist in the art/film world. i think because he is canadian.