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Serene Velocity (1970)

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A man, a movie camera, and a hallway
30 September 2002 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Ernie Gehr's structuralist masterpiece SERENE VELOCITY is a hypnotic film which is nothing more than a rapidly edited, rhythmic piece consisting of two shots of an office hallway (one long shot, one zoomed-in close up). Our persistence of vision makes us believe that this film is a perpetual zooming in and out from one end of a hallway to another. Rather, it is a carefully edited and timed film, which consistently cuts back and forth between these two shots. The result is a mesmerizing piece which, as it progresses, treats the eyes to much profundity out of something so simple. We begin to notice the perfect geometry of the composition as the lines of the hallway converge to the center. The film becomes some kind of cosmic heartbeat, as this meticulously timed work of art becomes visual music. There is no beginning, middle or end. It is for the eyes what Steve Reich is for the ears. For an equally hypnotic viewing experience, see also Gehr's masterpiece SIDE/WALK SHUTTLE.


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