Painstaking materials research using various pieces of unexposed 16mm film stock. A meditative elegy of light.
In Stoic philosophy, ‘pneuma’ is the ‘soul’ or fiery wind permeating the body, and at death survives the body but as impersonal energy. The images in this film come from an extensive collection of outdated raw stock that has been processed without being exposed, and sometimes rephotographed in closer format. Each pattern of grain takes on its own emotional life, an evocation of different aspects of our own being. A world is revealed that is alive with the organic deterioration of film itself, the essence of cinema in its before-image, preconceptual purity. –Nathaniel Dorsky
In a way, Nathaniel Dorsky (1943) could be seen as one of the ‘classic’ American avant-garde filmmakers, although he is a relatively late developer within this group.
Dorsky works with great care, filming on 16mm and projecting at 18 frames per second: ‘sacred speed’, as he calls it. He has not used sound since his very first films. The films are screened in silence, to focus all attention on the images: stunningly beautifully shot, silent and striking. The images do not refer to a subject the viewer is expected to recognize but stand completely alone.
Dorsky’s oeuvre consists of twenty short films, each of approx. 10 to 30 minutes. The Toronto film festival recently showed his new, lyrical films Aubade, Compline and Pastourelle (2010) in its Wavelengths programme. In his book, Devotional Cinema, published in 2004, Dorsky explains his vision of the transformative power of watching films, his influences and philosophy, related to Buddhism… read more