James Cagle

Waterwork (1973) 16mm, color, 11 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Environment & Nature, Films about Film, Media, Structural

WATERWORK was designed to show that the motion picture is ideally suited to depicting a view of nature, unaltered by special effects cinematography, that is not readily perceivable to the human eye. The film states in a simple way that in addition to camera manipulation (in this case moving the zoom lens) our view of natural forms can be altered by direct observation and by observation over a relatively long period of time. It also points out that while our perception changes, our concept of being located in a normal way in time and space is also affected to the extent we are no longer sure what constitutes up, down and sideways. Nor are we aware precisely where we are with regard to distance. "I was very impressed with WATERWORK. Conceptually and formally, its inventions mark it as an important work in the Structuralist tradition and one, had it been made in New York by a better-known film artist, which would have gained much critical attention. WATERWORK joins that tradition of monomorphic structuralist visions (c. f. WAVELENGTH, SERENE VELOCITY) based on the continuous zoom as a means of transforming outer appearances into inner experience. It's a gem of a film, one which lingers in the mind like the echo of a memory." -- Standish Lawder "A single shot (slow zoom) gradually magnifying rapidly-moving blue/white water pattern (rushing river). A sensitive and subtle film for visual contemplation, which inevitably reminds one both of how seldom we see ordinary 'simple' reality; but moreover, how wonderfully transformative is the medium of cinema, to render this reality in a new, optically dazzling, pattern. A hypnotic experience, for the cinema/willing, to drown within -- and therein the danger: an art must keep the recipient alive and awake." -- John Schofill.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

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