Peter Hutton (b. 1944, Detroit) is one of cinema’s most ardent and poetic portraitists of city and landscape. A former merchant seaman, he has spent nearly forty 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. This comprehensive retrospective of eighteen films reveals an artist dedicated to reawakening a more contemplative and spontaneous way of observing and envisioning the world.
Whether seeking remembrance of a city’s fading past or reflecting on nature’s fugitive atmospheric effects, Hutton sculpts with time; each film unfolds in silent reverie, with a series of extended single shots taken from a fixed position, harking back to cinema’s origins and to traditions of painting and still photography. “Like the haiku of Bashô,” the scholar Tom… read more
“I often tell my students the hardest thing to do in film is really to do nothing. Because there’s something about film that suggests that you have to do this big thing with film, you have to tell a story, completely dazzle the world, you have to keep people engaged; and when you don’t do that, you’re just left with this image of reality in some cases, and I always find that to be much more interesting than what people make of reality in that bigger idea of what cinema is.”
I don’t understand the insistence on calling Peter Hutton’s and James Benning’s cinema “avant-garde.” If they must be classified, the correct term ought to be “Lumières.”
"People have often introduced me as an avant-garde filmmaker, and I said "Oh no, I'm part of the rear-garde you know". I'm trying to take film back to it's origin, back to the first films where the idea of the movie-image itself was a phenomenon, a kind of amazement."