Sunday, June 24, 2012

Afterimage: Three Nights with Nathaniel Dorsky

Films of Nathaniel Dorsky: Devotional Songs (2002-06)

Pacific Film Archive

presented in association with Pacific Film Archive

Order advance tickets here.

Nathaniel Dorsky in person

Local filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky’s unique, exhilarating 16mm films relish in the possibilities of image making—to borrow his concept, they obey cinema’s own materiality. Or, as Paul Arthur observed, “A formalist with a brimming, elegiac soul, Dorsky will gently rock your attitude toward cinematic landscape. His world is a sublime mystery measured by patience and unmatched visual insight.”

In his beautiful, compact book, Devotional Cinema, Dorsky discusses, “shots and cuts,” and elucidates how, working together, images and edits can “unite the viewer to what is seen.” Dorsky’s films are purposefully silent, projected at the slower speed of silent cinema; nothing distracts from our being in the moment of seeing. He often carries his camera, a 16mm Bolex, with him; his imagery is of the everyday world, both city life and nature. Yet, his shots are often mysterious, ambiguous, equally “about” what he sees as how he sees it. A store window is a collage of objects and reflections. The focus on a tree overflowing with blossoms shifts, and becomes a swirl of abstract colors. Thus we move from one shot to the next, continually reawakening to the poetry of the visuals. As Dorsky’s titles—Threnody, Compline, Pastourelle—suggest, his films are songs, poems, prayers, dances, expressing his devotion to the world and to cinema. (Kathy Geritz, Pacific Film Archive)

Read Manohla Dargis’s April 13, 2012 New York Times article on Dorsky.

Learn more about Nathaniel Dorsky here.

Dorsky’s films continually reawaken us to the poetry of visuals, as can be seen in Song and Solitude, Threnody, and The Visitation.

Song and Solitude (2006)

Threnody (2004)

The Visitation (2002)

• Total running time: 64 mins