I’m a light thief and a shadow bandit. I deal in retinal phantoms. Film is illusion, period, however you choose to see it—shadows of human delights and adversities or raging conflicts of emulsion grains. We see only “films” of films, as all of our sight and sensing is illusion, the phantom movies of our encounter with the world, which, remember, is equally phantom, trompe l’oeil of that clown and ghostmeister, the sun.
The lovers, light and shadow, and their offspring space and time are my themes, working with their particularities is my passion and delight.
The films of Andrew Noren (1943–2015) were among the most visually intense and overwhelming films ever created, incorporating relentless barrages of imagery, rapid in-camera editing, incredible single-framing and time lapse photography, only pausing for the briefest of moments. Noren was a master 16mm photographer, a master of capturing motion and a master of black & white composition. Shot largely in bustling cities during the course of the artist’s daily life, Noren’s films emphasize the passing of time and—in their speed and Noren’s uncanny rendering solid forms as fragile and ephemeral—are consistently concerned with not only passing time, but the brevity of life.
An amazing filmmaker with an incredible body of work, Noren’s films presented profound challenges to the art of filmmaking and expressed, in purely visual terms, an extremely complex and radical aesthetics-based philosophy that is frequently chilling and always exhilarating. Once well known and highly regarded, Noren’s films have very rarely screened in recent years. Nonetheless, each of these screenings of Noren’s aggressive (if overwhelming) films was an occasion for one’s personal sense of visuality—as well as filmmaking and film history—to be altered permanently. In memory of this great filmmaker, Cinematheque will present two of his major works—Charmed Particles (1979) and The Lighted Field (1987).
Ghost pictures from the ‘other’ world, which is this world. The ghost is in love, at work, at play with bright companions in The Lighted Field. Flutter of phantoms, trick of light, sleight of the eye. A comedy of mirrors. Love advice from the grave.
image above: Andrew Noren: The Lighted Field (1987)