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La Région centrale

Year: 1971
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 191 min
Director: Michael Snow
Producer: Michael Snow
Cinematographer: Joyce Wieland, Pierre Abbeloos, Michael Snow
Sound: Bernard Goussard
Production Company: Michael Snow

In director Michael Snow’s La Région centrale, a brilliant convergence of form and content, camera movement becomes the raison d’être. Rarely, if ever, has a film so clearly delineated the role of the camera in our reception and perception of the object filmed. To make the film (which took just five days to shoot), Snow and technician Pierre Abbeloos designed a mechanized camera that was able to move without human intervention in every direction imaginable. The result is the illusion/reality of what Snow called a “bodyless eye,” freely moving in space around a central spot that is never seen. The effect is kinesthetic, contemplative and meditative as the eye/I of the universe follows its course.

To further erase the influence of humans, Snow filmed on a mountaintop in a remote area north of Sept-Îles, Quebec, where his camera roamed the landscape in varying patterns and at varying speeds in a manner both systematic and arbitrary. Far from a dry technological experiment, La Région centrale is both an exhilarating celebration of cinema’s unique qualities and a clever joke on the landscape tradition in Canadian art.

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