The film is a reflection on the use of light as an art and as a semantic tool that infuses meaning by creating a mood… This structural deconstruction focusing on one of the elements of mise en scene is an instructive didactic work that aims at teaching the viewer to scrutinize the images presented to him.
The only thing on the screen here is a lemon and the entire action of the film is a progressive change of the lighting on it. —IMDb
Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) was an American avant-garde filmmaker, photographer, writer/theoretician, and a pioneer of digital art.
Frampton was born March 11, 1936 in Wooster Ohio. An only child, he was raised primarily by his maternal grandparents.
At the age of 15 he entered Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was accepted on full scholarship. At Andover, Frampton’s classmates and friends included the painter Frank Stella and sculptor Carl Andre. Widely read already as a youth, he had a reputation at Andover as a “young genius” but was also unpredictable: he failed to graduate from Andover, and thus forfeited a National Scholarship to Harvard University, when he failed his history course on a bet that he could pass the final exam without ever reading the textbook. Entering Western Reserve University in 1954, Frampton took a wide variety of classes( Latin, Greek, German, French, Russian, Sanskrit, Chinese, mathematics) but had no declared major. He recounts… read more
Cinema trumps photography because it can objectify both experience and time outside of space. Where we can fill in the blanks and at the same time experience. So this film is like a photo or a painting to be observed but it also brings forth the cinema's organic powers and can take on even a psychological state in the viewer, and still represent itself as simply a lemon, which is art, but in a sense cinema can make it real.
A cool little study in cinema as still life. Very similar thematically to Frampton's Palindrome, also from 1969, in its use of visual abstraction to allow the the viewer to read their own images into the variations of color tone (more to be found in Palindrome) and light (more to be found in Lemon).
The lemon remains one of the Academy's biggest snubs when it comes to the leading role category