la region centrale

michael snow, 1971

The Central Region reconciles the structural metaphors of Wavelength and <->. The central region of the title is a nearly barren plateau, void of any people or sign of their existence, and this region is also the sky above it…but it is also the invisible spherical space which the camera, despite its miraculous equatorial mount…cannot see because it is itself.

Wavelength was a film devoid of metaphors which was itself a grand metaphor for the activity of consciousness. The Central Region carries that limitation of metaphor even further; nothing the camera passes acknowledges its existence, however tangentially; yet the film as a whole metaphorically describes the Romantic estrangement from nature; all of its baroque motions vainly seek an image in the visible central region that will illuminate the invisible one.

[quote from “On La Region Centrale“, 1971 article by Snow]
“In La Region Centrale the frame emphasises the cosmic continuity which is beautiful, but tragic: it just goes on without us.”

from “Visionary Film: the American Avant-Garde 1943-1978”, P. Adams Sitney, Oxford University Press 1979 (2nd edition)

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