Like Hutton’s previous films, Florence is a contemplative study of light and shadows, textures and planes, that makes beautiful use of the tonal qualities of black and white film. Throughout the film there is a motion of obscuring and revealing in clouds, reflections and mists, and in the behavior of light as it passes through various openings or substances. Frequently, the images are ambiguous details. One feels that Hutton is very at home in the world he sees, and that he looks at things a little more closely than most people… —San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
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