In Michael Snow’s tenth film, made in the twilight of the American lunar missions, the camera, attached to a robotic arm, casts its roving 360-degree eye across a remote, seemingly otherworldly mountaintop in northern Quebec. To a soundtrack based on the waves and pulses of the camera-activating machine, La Région centrale “transports its audience to a rugged Canadian landscape that is discovered at noon and then explored in seventeen episodes of dizzying motion as the machine’s shadow lengthens, night falls, and light returns” (Martha Langford, Art Canada Institute). Snow’s film is preceded by Daïchi Saïto’s kaleidoscopic exploration of the patterns and contrasts in the landscape of a Montreal park.
“Michael Snow catapults us into the heart of a world before speech, before arbitrarily composed meaning, even subject. He forces us to rethink not only cinema but our universe.”
— Louis Marcorelles, Le Monde, on La Région centrale
“The overall effect is of when you tightly shut your eyes after staring at a forest on a sunny day, leaving the intense rhythmic, bodily pulsing bleed of positive and negative, light and dark, bare, soft shadows and overwhelming color printed on the backs of your eyelids.”
— Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook, on Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis
Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis | Daïchi Saïto/2009, 10 min. 35mm
La région centrale | Michael Snow/1971. 180 min. 16mm
Programmed by Michèle Smith