Close Up

8 January 2016: La Région Centrale


La Région Centrale
Michael Snow
1971 | 190 min | Colour | 16mm  

Close-Up and Queen Mary University London are delighted to present a cornerstone of experimental film, Michael Snow's La Région Centrale. Filmmaker Nicky Hamlyn will introduce the film.  

"La Région Centrale transports its audience to a rugged Canadian landscape that is discovered at noon and then explored in seventeen episodes of dizzying motion as the machine’s shadow lengthens, night falls, and light returns. The soundtrack, composed by Snow for a quasi-synthesizer, refers to the sine waves and electronic pulses that had set the camera in motion and heightens the sensation of being under the power of an all-seeing machine. The experience is vertiginous, hallucinatory, and defining of the technological sublime." – Martha Langford  

"The film begins with the camera scanning slowly and moving upwards, over the mountain location in a 'deserted' part of Quebec. The film continues, in various ways, to take in the region. The apparatus for the film's making was constructed so that the camera could swivel and turn, up and down and around and in on its own axis. It could also zoom and change aperture. Snow composed the camera movements and created an overall plan for the film. The Central Region is out there, a film, 3 hours, five reels, and to end with a quote from the filmmaker: 'I decided to extend the machine aspect of film so that there might be a more objective feeling, you wouldn't be thinking of someone's expressive handling of the thing, but perhaps how and why the whole thing got set in motion'". – Peter Gidal