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The Films of David Rimmer
David Rimmer
DVD Set
Blu-Ray Set
David Rimmer is one of Canada's best-known and influential experimental filmmakers. This 3-volume set brings together Rimmer’s seminal early works, made between 1968 and 1986. Born in Vancouver, BC, Rimmer has been a key figure in that city's avant garde and in New York City. Rimmer’s films are known for their formal experimentation with looping, superimposition and optical printing. But they also go beyond structuralist strictures to operate on a poetic and metaphoric level.

Complement the set with Reading David Rimmer, an e-book edited by Mike Hoolboom.
Volume One
Canada / 13:00 / 1968 / sound / colour
“'Square Inch Field' surveys the micro-macro universe as contained in the mind of man. In that square inch field between the eyes... Rimmer projects a vision of the great mandala of humanity's all-time experience in space/time... powerful aesthetic integrity." - Gene Youngblood
Canada / 11:00 / 1969 / sound / colour
"Rimmer describes 'Migration' as 'organic myth,' and he recalls that shooting began with the central image of a dead deer on a beach. Subsequently, he worked on either side of that image (shooting and editing) towards a composition that predominantly featured visual rhythms (which) are the result of an integration of two interesting techniques - flash-frame montage and 'writing' with the hand-held camera... Naturalism is subordinated to a kinetic interaction with organic life processes and decay." - Al Razutis, Vancouver Art Gallery
Canada / 8:00 / 1969 / silent / colour
Using fixed-frame timelapse, fifteen hours of a day in the mountains, showing the changes in the sea and sky, is compressed into eight minutes. It was originally designed to be displayed like a painting: rear-projected onto a plexiglass screen that was framed in a false wall by a traditional wooden picture frame.
Canada / 6:00 / 1970 / silent / colour
“‘Blue Movie’ was made for the international Dome Show where it was projected down onto the muslin surface of David Rimmer's geodesic dome. The audience lay on the floor looking up at it, the inside of each eye finishing the globe” (Gerry Gilbert, B. C. Monthly Magazine). Screened as a traditional "cinema" film, "Blue Movie" is about movement on the film surface.
Canada / 5:00 / 1970 / silent / b/w
“Treefall" was originally made for a dance performance at the Vancouver Art Gallery, April, 1970. Structured in the form of two loops of high-contrast images of trees falling, reprinted and overlapped.
Canada / 5:00 / 1970 / sound / b/w
"With an irresistible humour, Rimmer speculates in 'The Dance' on the nature of the film loop. We see a (1920’s) couple whirling around a dance floor at a dizzying pace... Even after the technical building block of the film is evident, the vertiginous effect remains... Uncanny in its ability to evoke complexity of responses from a simplicity of means.” - Art and Cinema, #2
Canada / 5:00 / 1970 / silent / colour
"The loveliest Rimmer film shows a river boat slowly steaming past the Houses of Parliament - so slowly that it seems not to be moving, and surrounded by such luminous mistiness that one critic is supposed to have thought he was looking at a Turner painting rather than at film footage. Gradually the surface of the film begins to wrinkle slightly, to spot, to show minor blemishes.... The gesture is tentative and discreet, but it is also unsettling and liberating in ways that seem central to the gentle invocations of dissolution that are a basic feature of David Rimmer's world." - Roger Greenspun, New York Times
Volume Two
Canada / 8:30 / 1970 / sound / colour
"The most exciting non-narrative film I've ever seen.... The basic image is a female factory worker unrolling a large sheet of cellophane.... The film resembles a painting floating through time, its subject disappearing and re-emerging in various degrees of abstraction." - Kristine Nordstrom, The Village Voice
Canada / 11:00 / 1971 / silent / b/w
"The basic image derives from a shot of women in (Edwardian era ) dresses standing along the edge of the ocean. Within this eight-second loop, [Rimmer] cuts shorter ones. For example, the activity of a central group of three women is cut so that the figures repeat certain motions over and over and over again.... Rimmer also chose to use the forms of surface imperfections, the scratches and dirt patterns, as bases for his loops." - Kristina Nordstrom, The Village Voice
Canada / 13:00 / 1971 / sound / colour
Selected moments from eight months of street life outside a Manhattan pizza parlour, as seen from a fourth-floor loft. People coming and going, changes in weather, light. My first dramatic film. (DR)

“A cheerful, slightly crazy jauntiness prevails that may be as close as film form can come to really capturing a mood of the city." - Roger Greenspun
Canada / 11:00 / 1973 / silent / b/w
A mathematically ordered restructuring of two seconds (48 frames) of stock newsreel footage, primarily concerned with the frame as information unit and the change in formation between frames.

"The first frame of the original shot is frozen for 1200 frames (approximately one minute), the next two for 600 frames, the next four for 300 frames, etc. The result is a slowly accelerating montage and a concretization of the 'real' event through time. It is as if a re-invention of the motion picture domain of 'reality' was being undertaken." - Al Razutis, Vancouver Art Gallery
Canada / 10:00 / 1973 / silent / colour
"Variously relaxed, apprehensive, or relieved, the fractured gestures of a woman and a baby are played backward and forward, frame by frame, like a musical phrase." - Ian Birnie

“‘Fracture’ presents the viewer with a narrative riddle, one which is related directly to the nature of parallel construction ... [It] successfully isolates and exploits basic cinematic codes and conventions, such as screen direction and open-frame composition, in the creation of an implied and poetic narrative." - Al Razutis
Volume Three
Canada / 9:00 / 1974 / silent / colour
Vancouver harbour, with its railyards, mountains and passing ships, is a vista in fluid transformation as three winter months are reviewed in ten minutes. What interested me about the shot were the horizontals: train tracks, the water, the mountains, the sky. In the way those four elements would change. (DR)
Canada / 9:00 / 1975 / silent / colour
Designed as a companion piece to “Canadian Pacific.” Shot from a window two storeys higher, on the fourth floor of the next building east from the artist's studio of the previous year: December 1974 to February 1975. Can be projected alone or in double-screen format with "Canadian Pacific."
Canada / 10:00 / 1980 / silent / colour
Starting with a boat swaying on its anchor at the head of an inlet, a landscape of pilings, shore, and forest is slowly revealed by time-lapse photography as the morning fog lifts. While the deep space of the landscape evolves out of the fog-enshrouded flatness of early morning, the camera skips from fixed point to fixed point - suggesting the motion of the human eye while reading.
Canada / 11:00 / 1984 / sound / colour
A film which deals with aspects of male and female representation, spatial and temporal dislocation, and notions of framing and containment.
Canada / 15:00 / 1986 / sound / colour
"Much of the imagery seen on TV is first captured on film; here the filmmaker has reversed the process. As the title suggests, this film foregrounds the aesthetic nature of the television/cinematic medium by manipulating its pictorial qualities - image grain, scan lines and its luminous colour qualities. The structure of the film alternates between looped, processed stock TV imagery and a blank, static blue screen.... ‘As Seen on TV’ is a moving film which conveys a deep-seated human experience." - Maria Insell
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725