Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present a very rare screening of a landmark structural/materialist work Room Film 1973 by English filmmaker and theoretician Peter Gidal. Few descriptions of the film’s actual content have been attempted most likely because such description would not only fall short of the actual viewing experience, but it would miss the point. Gidal says of the film “The work is not a translation of anything, it is not a representation of anything, not even of consciousness”.
The 55-minute Room Film 1973 – which has influenced several generations of filmmakers and been described as “an important enlargement of the historical conception of modernism” by Malcolm Le Grice, “one of the best films to come out of the London School” by Jonas Mekas, and “a very important film because it exhausts all the ways of shooting forbidden in classic cinema: the out of focus, the dark, the repetitive, the blurry, the trembling, the intermittent…” by Nicole Brenez – is a reminder of how free and freeing filmmaking can be. It will be screened on its original 16mm color format.
“It is very good; I felt as if my father made it, as if it were made by a blind man. I liked the tentativeness… one had to work at it, that searching tentative quality, that quality of trying to see…” - Michael Snow
“…Room Film 1973 attempts to exploit the representational proclivities of cinematography while continually denying representation by exposing the illusion on which that representation rests.” – Deke Dusinberre (in “The Ascetic Task: Peter Gidal’s Room Film 1973?)
” Very subtly and very plastically it deals with light. The film is uncompromisingly rigid in its minimality of action. A very beautifully realized piece of work…it is definitely contemporary in feeling and substance….” – Jonas Mekas (Village Voice, 1973)
“There is no describable content, but one watches with fascination the representation of the objective world through the agency of light and its absence.” - Malcolm Le Grice (Studio International, 1973)
Room Film 1973 (Peter Gidal, 16mm, color, silent, 1973, 55 minutes)
Peter Gidal was born in 1946 and grew up in Switzerland. After studying psychology and German literature at Brandeis University and the University of Munich, he enrolled at the Royal College of Art in London and began his career as an experimental filmmaker. In the 1960s his films were shown at such ‘underground’ London venues as the New Arts Lab in Drury Lane and the London Film-Maker’s Co-op (which he helped to establish) in Chalk Farm. An admirer of American structuralist filmmakers such as Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton, Gidal’s own works are also interrogations into the formalist aspect of film, with an emphasis on grain, duration, tempo and editing structures. […] Along with Malcolm LeGrice, Peter Gidal is the foremost exponent of British structural cinema. He taught at the RCA from 1971 to 1983 and he remains active as ever as a filmmaker and theorist […] His films were given a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre, Paris in 1996 and at the Lux, London in 1998. (from “Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors”, Wheeler Winston Dixon)
Special thanks to Peter Gidal and the Filmmakers Coop
Microscope Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation as the Official Sponsor of our Event Series