The second annual Capture Photography Festival, in conjunction with the Cinematheque, presents a special program of Michael Snow’s Wavelength and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. These two celebrated films, both dating from the mid 1960s, complicate and confound the routine relationship between stillness and action: the latter contains the former, and from that point, everything can shift. As photographs depict a singular moment, the use of one in a narrative film forces both its characters and the audience to imagine beyond. Whether or not this “beyond” is fulfilled throughout the course of the plot is up for analysis, as the image burns itself into memory, resurfacing with new significance at some later date. Transformed with our own sensibilities and memories, the photograph becomes a placeholder for a greater unknown outside itself.
Canada, 1967, 45 min, 16 mm
Canadian master Michael Snow’s 1967 milestone is one of avant-garde cinema’s most celebrated and influential works. The film consists of a single, continuous, forty-five-minute zoom shot across a room (the artist’s New York loft), set to a steadily increasing sine wave of sound. There are several episodes of human “drama” and various structuralist elements (superimpositions, splicey jumps, variations in light, colour, and film stock) disrupting things along the way.
“Wavelength is without precedent in the purity of its confrontation with the essence of cinema: the relationships between illusion and fact, space and time, subject and object. It is the first post-Warhol, post-Minimal movie” (Gene Youngblood).
Great Britain, 1966, 100 min, 35 mm
Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language film was this landmark mid-1960s meditation on the search for meaning, the subjective nature of reality, and the illusory nature of appearances. Set in Swinging London, the film stars David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who thinks he may have inadvertently photographed a murder. With its Carnaby Street–cool portrait of pop art, pot parties, chic fashion models, mod youths, hip clubs, and rambunctious sexual freedom, Blow-Up is the perfect ’60s time capsule. It also remains a quintessential Antonioni piece—“a work totally fascinated with questions of illusion and appearance and shifting surfaces, and the way objects adjust their character according to the nature of the observing eye” (Penelope Houston). Vanessa Redgrave co-stars, while the Yardbirds rock in a (literally) smashing concert cameo.
Text by Casey Wei
Presented by: Capture Photography Festival and the Cinematheque
Curated by: Casey Wei
Directed by: Michael Snow and Michelangelo Antonioni
Double-bill prices in effect for this program: $14 Regular/$12 Students & Seniors
Cinematheque membership not required for this event.
14A — Some sexually suggestive scenes and nudity
Persons under 14 must be accompanied by an adult