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Retrospective

Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler

For the last six decades, Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler, partners in life and in cinema, have taken their cameras out into the world and filmed gestures, moods, atmospheres, states of being, light and darkness, movement and stillness. Hiler’s register is ecstatic and polyphonic, Dorsky’s devotional and poetic. And, simply put, they are two of the greatest filmmakers alive. All work shot and screened on 16mm. Made possible by the generous support of the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Inc.

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Nathaniel Dorsky

Early Sounds/Middle Silence

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 77 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Dorsky’s three earliest works (made when he “entered the realm of poetic filmmaking as an active maker”), all sound films, with dailies for two later works shot on precious Kodachrome stock.

Hours and More for Jerome

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 52 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Dorsky’s first artistic exchange with Hiler, and his passage into a silent cinema of “open form montage,” followed by a luminous and limpid work in two parts, shot during Dorsky and Hiler’s years in New York and on Lake Owassa in rural New Jersey.

Excavations

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 75 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

A 1971 move to San Francisco brought Dorsky into an exploration of the essence of film itself: the grain, “the raw emulsion of cinema”… an endlessly changing four-frame image … light and wind on shifting grains of sand, “little short of a miracle” (Stan Brakhage).

Three Cinematic Songs

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 71 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Years away from the presentation of finished work, and suddenly…Song! This was the moment that Dorsky found “the level of cinema language that I had been working towards,” and when he began to think of his films as “cinematic songs.”

Three Devotional Songs

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 64 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Development… and Dorsky’s need to take his work to a “more specific expression,” into the devotional: devotions to his beloved friend Susan Vigil, to Stan Brakhage, and to a longing within himself “for a larger view.”

The Quartet

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 68 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Four complementary works, one per year, including “a loving duet with and a fond farewell to” Dorsky’s beloved and now discontinued Kodachrome reversal stock (Compline) and his first “tentative steps” into color negative, “a new world of cinematic material” (Aubade).

New Beginnings

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 62 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

…and loss, and always change. Fuji, another film stock gone—“thick and painterly with a limited palette, but a moody dark soul in its lower register”—and the departure of two dear friends, Carla Liss and George Kuchar.

Worlds Emerging

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 68 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

…and renewal. Mourning followed by reemergence, and a new color stock from Eastman, leading to the limits of the pictorial (April) prompting a more “primordial” turn (Song) which feeds into Spring: “I wanted to bloom into the sensuality of cinema and subject matter as a thirst for light.”

The Late Quartet

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 75 minutes

Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

Four films made within durations: three times of year, and one year of studying Jewish mysticism. “These films each have a specific subject, though they are not about that subject, but rather of the time of the subject.”

Contemplations

  • Nathaniel Dorsky
  • 61 minutes

World Premiere · Nathaniel Dorsky in person!

The fourth of the “cinematic songs,” followed by two new works “made by someone closer to passing on, by someone whose sense of life and sense of cinema have become inseparable in a very real way.”

Jerome Hiler

Passing Glances

  • Jerome Hiler
  • 70 minutes

Jerome Hiler in person!

Two works, stately and playful, shot across long durations: from the austere beauty of winter to the rhapsodies of summer, on Lake Owassa; and a similarly fragmented journey from the east to the alien west, and a return for an “Autumnal rondo.”

Inhabited Places

  • Jerome Hiler
  • 58 minutes

Jerome Hiler in person!

Two films with multiple layers of images, one “a colorful and joyous expression of the flowering energy of ground, path and fruition, the other a more somber work…” And a new film, “a simple, single-layered lyric” with “the spirit of gladness in its curious meanderings.”