Nuit Blanche Toronto 2023: Michael Snow

It's a 'painting' about a painting. I was very concerned with the mobile color mixing that would eventually happen. Colors were carefully chosen as I tried to predict how they would mix and interact. I make 'pictures' and the experience of looking at them is more important than the 'elsewhereness' of a story, even in this, my most 'story-telling' film. In that respect, part of the perception or 'reading' of the film involves one's choices of what went before and what came after in the actual pre-filmic event. The use of Farsi and the over-laying of the English subtitles were ways of adding two other layers of complexity. The film was designed to be seen several times, not just once. In my 1974 four-and-a-half-hour film Rameau’s Nephew, I used many different languages. Ones hearing of an unfamiliar language tends the mind toward the ways in which one listens to music. Speech is then more purely sound than sense. Meaning doesn't cancel hearing. A modest political edge: adultery and drinking alcohol can be severely punished in Iran. Part of the original conception was that one could satisfyingly see / hear the episode-on-episode several times. Repeated viewing reduces the strength of the realism and makes it possible for one to see truly the artifact (or, the construct), the artificiality, the art. There are, literally, layers to it and I believe that each time one sees 'it' one sees it differently. One may concentrate for example, on the moving color-mixing, or what happen to the painting or the subtitles, or the way the speech and music are superimposed on each other. And as memory can be questioned, one may question ones memory as to whether each repeat is in fact the same. Were alterations made? The title is of course the word SHORT printed right on top of the word STORY.

Michael Snow

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