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New Thoughts On Old Things

[6] Peter Gidal Key' (1968)

Many years back, I bought the catalogue from the 1979 Hayward Gallery exhibition Film as Form. It was my introduction to the trajectories of experimental, structuralist and materialist film, arcing back to pioneering work from the 20s and 30s. Peter Gidal's work - such as Key here - and those of his contemporaries alerted me to the 'itness' of film. That is, the anti-illusionism hidden under cinema's foundational illusionism. Key seems to me to be one of those experiments that, when seen together with others from its generation, reveal the very essential grammar of what film is in all its self-announced reality. The zoom out (made infamous in Michael Snow's Wavelength), utilised here, is a storyline that takes us from one form of abstraction to another that is a little less abstract (the image of a face). Gidal thinks about film and delivers this thinking in a form that, rightfully, is ineffable and vocalised by itself only.

Key (1968)
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