Barbara Meter

From the Exterior (1970) 16mm, color, 9 min

Genre: Experimental

In From the Exterior, Barbara Meter invokes one of the most abiding and contentious issues in film: that of the camera as a voyeur. She points her hand-held camera at the occupants of houses in night-time Amsterdam, where windows are large and curtains left open. Meter teasingly arouses our voyeuristic impulses while simultaneously frustrating them. To overcome this frustration we must confront those impulses in arriving at a full appreciation of the formal complexities that the film has to offer. The rooms flattened-out, partly because Meter uses a telephoto lens and because the spaces are not entered and opened-up by the camera, but always seen frontally, from a distance. This flattening-out emphasizes the quality of screens within screens and screens upon screens. Thus, the viewer finds him/herself perceiving the objects in the room in terms of receding planes, like the cardboard scenery in a Victorian toy theatre.

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