Illuminations #5

New York Portrait Pt. I - Peter Hutton, 1977, 16mm


Having the luxury to behold the simplest things can often be a revelation in itself.

--Peter Hutton, interviewed in A Critical Cinema 3 (California UP, 1998), p.246.

In film nothing is deemed so holy that it might or ought to be safeguarded from being absorbed into the general flow of movement. Everything film shows is translated into movement and thereby profaned.

--Boris Groys, Art Power (MIT Press, 2008), p.71.

Yes, I've seen Empire a couple of times. It's an experience, there are many things that happen. At first, when watching the film with other people, everybody's sort of sceptical, they think: this will be so boring, that they will be leaving soon, but at least they have to see something... And then, as time goes by, they begin to relax, to enjoy, to just watch the screen when nothing really much happens. There's some dust, and then, one hour or so into the film, maybe an hour and a half, the light comes up! This huge, incredible event happens when the building lights up. So, of course, everybody applauds, it's a great moment. And then, again, you relax, and you watch, there's some light activity, the building is there, it becomes like a meditation. Those who stay until the end, they all say it is a very meditative, very relaxing, unique experience: just accept what's there, don't ask from it anything, because the activity is really the most, most minimal. There is nothing else like that in cinema.

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