Afterimage: Three Nights with Nathaniel Dorsky
June 10, 2012 - June 24, 2012
There is the world that we see, and then there is the world that artists like Mr. Dorsky see and generously share.—Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Filmmakers who create nonnarrative cinema often link their work to other arts, drawing on musical rhythms, a painterly style, or poetic phrasings. They may explore film-specific properties, creating a cinema of surprise and originality. Local filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky’s unique, exhilarating 16mm films relish in the possibilities of image making—to borrow his concept, they obey cinema’s own materiality. Or, as Paul Arthur observed, “A formalist with a brimming, elegiac soul, Dorsky will gently rock your attitude toward cinematic landscape. His world is a sublime mystery measured by patience and unmatched visual insight.”
In his beautiful, compact book, Devotional Cinema, Dorsky discusses, “shots and cuts,” and elucidates how, working together, images and edits can “unite the viewer to what is seen.” Dorsky’s films are purposefully silent, projected at the slower speed of silent cinema; nothing distracts from our being in the moment of seeing. He often carries his camera, a 16mm Bolex, with him; his imagery is of the everyday world, both city life and nature. Yet, his shots are often mysterious, ambiguous, equally “about” what he sees as how he sees it. A store window is a collage of objects and reflections. The focus on a tree overflowing with blossoms shifts, and becomes a swirl of abstract colors. Thus we move from one shot to the next, continually reawakening to the poetry of the visuals. As Dorsky’s titles—Threnody, Compline, Pastourelle—suggest, his films are songs, poems, prayers, dances, expressing his devotion to the world and to cinema.
As part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, we are delighted that Nathaniel Dorsky will be joined by renowned curator Mark McElhatten to discuss his films following the screening on Sunday, June 10. McElhatten has been programming films and videos since 1977; he is founder and coprogrammer of the annual Views from the Avant-Garde at the New York Film Festival, and founder of the Walking Picture Palace and the upcoming festival Cinema Atlantis. He has been film archivist for Martin Scorsese since 1998.
Read Manohla Dargis's April 13, 2012 New York Times article on Dorsky.
Learn more about Nathaniel Dorsky at collectedonlinesongsaboutnathanieldorsky.posterous.com
Kathy Geritz, Film Curator
Sunday, June 10, 2012
7:30 p.m. Films of Nathaniel Dorsky: Recent Films
Nathaniel Dorsky (U.S., 2010–12). Nathaniel Dorsky and critic/curator Mark McElhatten in conversation. Dorsky’s unique films can be seen as songs, poems, prayers, or dances, expressing his devotion to the world and to cinema. Tonight we present his most recent film, August and After, as well as The Return and Pastourelle. (62 mins)
Sunday, June 17, 2012
7:30 p.m. Films of Nathaniel Dorsky: The Quartet
Nathaniel Dorsky (U.S., 2008–10). Nathaniel Dorsky in person. Dorsky’s imagery is of the everyday world, both city life and nature. Yet his shots are often mysterious and ambiguous, equally “about” what he sees as how he sees it. Tonight’s screening features the quartet Sarabande, Compline, Aubade, and Winter. (67 mins)
Sunday, June 24, 2012
7:30 p.m. Films of Nathaniel Dorsky: Devotional Songs
Nathaniel Dorsky (U.S., 2002–06). Nathaniel Dorsky in person. Dorsky’s films continually reawaken us to the poetry of visuals, as can be seen in Song and Solitude, Threnody, and The Visitation. (64 mins)
This presentation is part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, which is made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association® and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Cosponsored by San Francisco Cinematheque.