Michael Snow's "Wavelength"

Co-presented by Cinespia

Elemental, uncompromising, physical and yet completely intangible — explaining Michael Snow’s 1967 Wavelength is like explaining light itself. This 45-minute tracking shot is one of the most influential experimental films of all time, elegantly cutting to and straight through the essence of the filmic experience. A long, slow zoom (meticulously pieced together from shorter segments) almost imperceptibly moves towards an object on the opposite wall of a room. Occasional flare-ups of light mark the passing of days, people stumble into the frame, and someone even dies, but the passing of time as humans experience it seems almost incidental. This is a purely formal world, where the unalterable path of the camera — not human concerns like story or time — is what forms the experience. Like its original sine-wave drone soundtrack, the film’s visual variations can be hypnotic, maddening, or transcendent, but there’s no doubt that this film, like light, isn’t just visual. Whether it’s a sunburn or a warm glow, you’ll definitely feel it.
Dir. Michael Snow, 1967, 16mm, 45 min.