Region Centrale, La
by Snow, Michael
Canada / 180 min. / 1971
sound / colour
"This new, three-hour film by the Canadian Michael Snow, is an extraordinary cinematic monument. No physical action, not even the presence of man, a fabulous game with nature and machine which puts into question our perceptions, our mental habits, and in many respects renders moribund existing cinema: the latest Fellini, Kubrick, Buñuel etc.
“For ‘La Region Centrale,’ Snow had a special camera apparatus constructed by a technician in Montreal, an apparatus capable of moving in all directions: horizontally, vertically, laterally or in a spiral. The film is one continuous movement across space, intercutting occasionally the X serving as a point of reference and permitting one to take hold of stable reality. Snow has chosen to film a deserted region, without the least trace of human life, 100 miles to the north of Sept-Isles in the province of Quebec: a sort of plateau without trees, opening onto a vast circular prospect of the surrounding mountains. In the first frames, the camera disengages itself slowly from the ground in a circular movement. A sound track, rigorously synchronized, composed from the original sound which programmed the camera, supplies a permanent counterpoint.
“Michael Snow pushes toward the absurd the essential nature of this ‘seventh’ art, which is endlessly repeated as being above the visual. He catapults us into the heart of a world before speech, before arbitrarily composed meaning, even subject. He forces us to rethink not only cinema but our universe.” - Louis Marcorelles, Le Monde, Paris Sept. 28, 1972
“...an unimaginable film, literally like nothing you have ever seen before...” John W. Locke, Artforum, November/December 1973