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Visual Rhymes

Tuesday, October 23, 1979
7:00 p.m. Horizons
Larry Gottheim (USA,1973)

Filmmaker Larry Gottheim in Person!

Writing on “Personal Cinema” in the May ’74 Soho Weekly News, after Horizons’ much-acclaimed screenings at the Whitney, Cooper Union and Museum of Modern Art in New York, all within a matter of months, Paul Poggiali noted that “the film certainly deserves the attention it has received. It is a difficult film, one the viewer can take on an immediate, sensuous level for quite awhile - the images are very rich (the four seasons in upstate New York landscapes) - but eventually the mind wants to work, wants to make something more of these ceaseless beautiful images of horizons than each one’s particular beauty. The fact that they’ve been coming in groups with intervals between each group means the filmmaker’s consciousness has all along been permeating the sequence, placing one image next to another and so forth for reasons. And at whatever point it may happen the viewer too gets involved in these reasons. (As Gottheim says, ‘the film works with your desire to get to know, to anticipate, to try to remember’).
“Gottheim explores just about everything that can go on within the frame. He plays with colors and tones, with presence or absence of both subject and camera movement, with directions of movement, with position of masses, directions of dominant lines, etc. And what is more he does this not simply within one shot or from one shot to the next but also between shots separated by one or more shots, and then too between groups of shots. It’s a film organized like a poem, each shot like a line of verse having various rhythmic relations to other lines in the poem... Gottheim is the filmmaker-as-poet sustaining tensions between abstract and concrete.”
There are rhymes within rhymes, and they are for the viewer to discover. Gottheim reminds us that the “structural patterns are not meant as puzzles. During the course of one viewing there is time for many modes of perceiving. Future viewings offer the tantalizing possibility of fusing these disparate and sometimes competing facets of consciousness into harmony. Then the film will be neither too slow nor too fleeting.” After Jonas Mekas’ fifth viewing of Horizons, he discovered its incredible richness of and magnificence of color!

Please note: Larry Gottheim will show his most recent film, Four Shadows, on Thursday, October 25 at the Cinematheque (S.F. Art Institute), at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, October 27, he will conduct a nine-hour seminar there starting at 1:00 p.m., screening his early short films and other features.

• A Film by Larry Gottheim. (1973, 80 mins, color, silent, Print provided by filmmaker)