Canada on Screen

La Région Centrale

Michael SnowCanada180 minutes1971GColourEnglish

Nov 7
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"La Région Centrale looks at landscape from a viewpoint it hasn't been looked at before, so that it's completely primordial — like seeing the world for the first time. It's a whole movie caught up in a kind of movement that envelops the whole movie. In a movie, a scene is usually just a fraction of the event; a movement is just a fraction of it. In this movie, movement takes over the whole screen, the whole movie. It's seeing things inside the cyclical movement of feeling or existence: the back-and-forth movement, the slow zoom movement. It's being caught up in a whole force of vision." — Manny Farber

While Wavelength is justly considered Snow's masterpiece, La Région Centrale is his tour de force. Constructing an elaborate apparatus that enabled the camera to pan, tilt and rotate in every single direction, Snow and his collaborators brought the machine to a spot 100 kilometres north of Sept-Îles, Quebec. Over five days, Snow remotely directed the camera to shoot the imposingly barren landscape of the Canadian Shield in a kaleidoscopic variety of ways. With nothing else human or man-made visible apart from the shadow of the camera's pedestal, La Région Centrale is a meditation on the purity of vision, landscape, and movement.