Offscreen Notes

Michael Snow (1928-Jan. 5, 2023)

January 7th, 2023

The great Canadian multi-medium artist Michael Snow died on January 5th, 2023 at the age of 94. Born in Toronto, Snow was a giant in the field of experimental cinema, which he helped scale to soaring heights in the 1960s with fellow contemporary filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Hollis Frampton, Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Kurt Kren, Standish Lawder, (his wife of many years) Joyce Wieland, and others. Snow’s films were infused with his equal talents in other arts, being a proficient musician, sculptor, painter and photographer. Often contrasted to Brakhage’s more emotive and impressionist style, Snow excelled in pushing the technical and formalist parameters of cinema, culminating in such masterstrokes as Standard Time (1967), Wavelength (1967), La Region Centrale (1971), One Second in Montreal (1969), (Back and Forth (1969), Breakfast (Table Top Dolly) (1976) and his last film, a condensed redux of his moving camera masterpiece La Region Centrale, Cityscape (2019). Wavelength is a cornerstone of one of our foundational Film Studies classes where I teach at Concordia University and continues to provoke, frustrate and inspire (not always in equal measure) students till this day. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Snow along with colleague André Habib back in 2002 when he was an invited guest of the 2002 Festival International Nouveau Cinéma Nouveaux Médias (FCMM). You can read the interview (and other essays collected in our Michael Snow Dossier) on Offscreen.

Michael Snow Interview

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