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Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology



Daniel A. Swarthnas (Cinema Parenthèse)

Nathaniel Dorsky
USA | 1964 | 16mm | color | sound | 12'00
The first of three films depicting the emergence from adolescence. Ingreen is a reflecting pool of the underwater involvement of a mother-father-son relationship. "... made of beautiful greens ... glimpses of figures of images that are recognizable ... the esthetic experience is created by the flow and play of superimpositions." - Jonas Mekas

... the film haunts, has tugged at my mind now and again all these years ...

  • Stan Brakhage

Nathaniel Dorsky
USA | 1964 | 16mm | color | sound | 11'00
The second in the trilogy, it is less a psychodrama and more a sad sweet song of youth and death, of boyhood and manhood and our tender earth. "Forgetting its 'psychological plot' this film is a fine exponent of the intrinsic magical power of cinema. Its images, which evolve in a rather unmagical sober suburb, are continually transcended and manipulated into a kind of epic haiku of superimpositions and textural weavings."

  • Jerome Hiler

Nathaniel Dorsky
USA | 1965 | 16mm | color | sound | 14'00
Part three of this trilogy. The world is seen from a larger view. "A singularly direct and unpretentious evocation of summer life in Nathaniel Dorsky's home town. The number of that life's aspects so surely revealed, the range and thoroughness of observation, the sensual accuracy of the camera, the remarkably poetic use of slow motion, and the unhurried, meditative unfolding of episode, distinguish Summerwind as a work of ripeness beyond its maker's years."

  • Ken Kelman

Peter Hutton
USA | 1972 | 16mm | b&w | silent | 8'00
Using exciting juxtapositions of shade and movement, this silent and surreally poetic film examines subtle changes of light and landscape in New York. New York Near Sleep for Saskia exploits the basic potential of film for capturing light refractions. Hutton imposes on this film the aesthetics of still photography and uses as a structural device the duration of perception of the subtle reflection of movements and illuminations.

  • Bill Moritz, Theatre Vanguard

Peter Hutton
USA | 1979 | 16mm | b&w | silent | 16'00
Hutton's most impressive work ... the filmmaker's style takes on an assertive edge that marks his maturity. The landscape has a majesty that serves to reflect the meditative interiority of the artist independent of any human presence. ... New York is framed in the dark nights of a lonely winter. The pulse of street life finds no role in New York Portrait; the dense metropolitan population and imposing urban locale disappear before Hutton's concern for the primal force of a universal presence. With an eye for the ordinary, Hutton can point his camera toward the clouds finding flocks of birds, or turn back to the simple objects around his apartment struggling to elicit a personal intuition from their presence. ... Hutton finds a harmonious, if at times melancholy, rapport with the natural elements that retain their grace in spite of the city's artificial environment. The city becomes a ghost town that the filmmaker transforms into a vehicle reflecting his personal mood. The last shot looks across a Brooklyn beach toward the skyline of Coney Island's amusement park .? The quiet park evokes the once frantic city smothered by winter. Nature continues its eternal cycles impervious to the presence of man, the aspirations of society, or the decay of the metropolis.

  • Millennium Film Journal

Peter Hutton
USA | 1982 | 16mm | b&w | silent | 11'00
Chapter two represents a continuation of daily observations from the environment of Manhattan compiled over a period from 1980-1981. This is the second part of an extended life's portrait of New York.

Hutton's black and white haikus are an exquisite distillation of the cinematic eye. The limitations imposed - no color, no sound, no movement (except from a vehicle not directly propelled by the filmmaker), no direct cuts since the images are born and die in black - ironically entail an ultimate freedom of the imagination. ... If pleasure can disturb, Hutton's ploys emerge in full focus. These materializing then evaporating images don't ignite, but conjure strains of fleeting panoramas of detached bemusement. More than mere photography, Hutton's contained-with-in-the-frame juxtapositions are filmic explorations of the benign and the tragic ....

  • Warren Sonbert

Peter Hutton
USA | 1990 | 16mm | b&w | silent | 17'00
[Hutton's] urban film, New York Portrait III, takes on a unique tone in relation to Hutton's ongoing exploration of rural landscape. The very fact that Hutton is dealing with older footage, with archives of memory more than immediacy, gives it a different texture than his earlier New York films, in spite of many continuities with them. Hutton always found the presence of nature in the city, not only in his many shots of sky and vegetation, but also in the geometry and texture of the city itself, which seemed to project an independence from the human. This film seems to bathe itself in a nostalgia for things human, as if Hutton were looking at a vanishing race. Again humor rather than lamentation prevails, but never has it seemed that people were so contingent in Hutton's films. The high angle of observation, frequent in Hutton's previous New York films (and an invocation of their diaristic observer quality), here seems to carry a sense of withdrawal, a distance matched by compassion. ... The final image in which a small shape against the scale of skyscraper and sky suddenly reveals itself as human by its motion seems emblematic, as does Hutton's observations of the accidents and rescue of people below on the street.

  • Tom Gunning

Total 89'00

NATHANIEL DORSKY, born in New York City in 1943, is an experimental filmmaker and film editor who has been making films since 1963. He has resided in San Francisco since 1971.
“In film, there are two ways of including human beings. One is depicting human beings. Another is to create a film form which, in itself, has all the qualities of being human: tenderness, observation, fear, relaxation, the sense of stepping into the world and pulling back, expansion, contraction, changing, softening, tenderness of heart. The first is a form of theater and the latter is a form of poetry.” - Nathaniel Dorsky

"The films of Nathaniel Dorsky blend a beauteous celebration of the sensual world with a deep sense of introspection and solitude. They are occasions for reflection and meditation, on light, landscape, time and the motions of consciousness. Their luminous photography emphasizes the elemental frisson between solidity and luminosity, between spirit and matter, while his uniquely developed montage permits a fluid and flowing experience of time. Dorsky's films reveal the mystery behind everyday existence, providing intimations of eternity." - Steve Polta

PETER HUTTON (1944-2016) was an American experimental filmmaker, and one of cinema’s most ardent and poetic portraitists of city and landscape. A former merchant seaman, he has spent nearly 40 years voyaging around the world, often by cargo ship, to create sublimely meditative, luminously photographed, and intimately
diaristic studies of place, from the Yangtze River to the Polish industrial city of Lodz, and from northern Iceland to a ship graveyard on the Bangladeshi shore.

Hutton also worked as a professional cinematographer, most notably for his former student Ken Burns, as well as cinematography for Lizzie Borden's "Born in Flames," Sheila McLaughlin and Lynne Tillman's "Committed," assorted films by artist Red Grooms and Albert Maysles' The Gates.

Before We Knew Nothing