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Action at a Distance

Peter Gidal
1980
35mins Colour 16mm

Action at a Distance

In Gidal's films, the first level of resistance, that of the filmmaker to the lure of the object, is chiefly inscribed through the action of the camera in it's 'looking at' the space - variously through; motion, distance, focal length's effect on perspective, zoom or focus.

The second level, the attempt to distanciate the spectator from the identification with the enunciator, is chiefly inscribed through devices like; repetition, graining out or darkening out of the image in printing, or disruptions in the flow of images and motion. It is particularly in the devices of the second level of distanciation - the effects on the screen of 'material flatness, grain, light movement' where Gidal, in an attempt to produce a condition for the spectator of response to the film, rather than identification with the filmmaker, that he has recourse to those features 'intrinsic' to film.

Malcolm Le Grice, Some Introductory Thoughts on Gidal's Films and Theory, Independent Cinema Documentation File No 1.

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