Anthology Film Archives

MICHAEL SNOW (1928-2023)

February 14 – February 16

Experimental cinema – and indeed, 20th and 21st-century art and culture as a whole – lost one of its indisputable giants in January, with the passing of the incomparable Michael Snow. It’s no exaggeration to say that Snow’s body of moving-image work represents one of the great achievements in the history of the art form – films such as WAVELENGTH, <---> (BACK AND FORTH), and LA RÉGION CENTRALE have become widely acknowledged classics, but every one of his films amply demonstrates his formal brilliance, searching intelligence, and commitment to interrogating and exploring ideas about the image, language, and ontology. That his aesthetic innovation and intellectual depth are wedded to a disarmingly playful and inspired sense of humor guarantees that his work will remain forever resonant and alive.

As extraordinary as Snow’s films and videos are, his importance extends far beyond the moving image: he made equally accomplished work in the realms of music, photography, writing, the artist book, and more. The extent of his legacy is immeasurable, and his loss is unfathomable.

Snow and the great Hollis Frampton collaborated repeatedly, and shared an inimitable way with words. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to accounting for Snow’s importance, Frampton may have put it best:

“All that survives entire of an epoch is its typical art form. For instance: painting (in all its enormity) comes to us intact from the New Stone Age.

Film is surely the typical art of our time, whatever time that is. If the Lumières are Lascaux, then we are, now, in the Early Historical Period of film. It is a time of invention.

One of little more than a dozen living inventors of film art is Michael Snow. His work has already modified our perception of past film. Seen or unseen, it will affect the making & understanding of film in the future.

This is an astonishing situation. It is like knowing the name and address of the man who carved the Sphinx.” –Hollis Frampton

Anthology hosted a full retrospective of Snow’s work in December 2021, which featured the premiere of our restoration of <---> (BACK AND FORTH) (1969). To pay tribute to him following his passing, we offer screenings of his “camera movement” trilogy, which arguably represents the core of his achievement in the cinema.

Special thanks to Peggy Gale and Mani Mazinani.

Upcoming Screenings

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