6.3/10
162
5 user 1 critic

Back and Forth (1969)

<---> (original title)
A camera in a classroom continuously sways back and forth at various speeds as people occasionally move around the setting.

Director:

Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Wavelength (1967)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

One of the most unconventional and experimental films ever made, Wavelength is a structural film of a 45-minute long zoom in on a window over a period of a week.

Director: Michael Snow
Stars: Hollis Frampton, Lyne Grossman, Naoto Nakazawa
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

One of the best and most influential in avant-garde cinema, an experiment from Michael Snow for 24 hours, using the robotic arm Michael Snow program all robotic movements so as not to be ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Snow
Presents (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Michael Snow
War | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Short film which explores the origins of napalm, it's use in the Vietnam war, and it's evil effects on society.

Director: Harun Farocki
Stars: Gerd Volker Bussäus, Harun Farocki, Caroline Gremm
All My Life (1966)
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A 3 minute pan to the left.

Director: Bruce Baillie
Stars: Ella Fitzgerald
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A short film in which a director's voice appears to be directing all the action on a busy London street.

Director: John Smith
So Is This (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Experimental short in which sentences are formed by displaying one word at a time and at alternating speeds.

Director: Michael Snow
Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel
At Sea (2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

This is a soundless story of the building of 'Toledo Spirit', the container ship, its sailing and eventual beaching. Insignificant men crawl on cranes and gantries to build it and other men, sans the equipment, scrape it after beaching.

Director: Peter B. Hutton
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A sunbathing woman has a phantasmagoric vision of ecstasy, derived from various found footage sources.

Director: Peter Tscherkassky
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Hans-Jakob Siber
Director: Michael Snow
Stars: Luigi Bianchi, Nancy Love, Steve McCallery
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Allan Kaprow
Emmett Williams
Max Neuhaus
Joyce Wieland
Luis Camnitzer
Susan
Ay-o
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anne
Mary
Scotty
Edit

Storyline

A camera in a classroom continuously sways back and forth at various speeds as people occasionally move around the setting.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 May 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Back and Forth  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The film continues for about five minutes after the "closing" credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in What Is Cinema? (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Tennis, anyone?
29 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

This 52-minute amateur film (shot in 16mm but looking more like standard 8, I mean substandard 8) has a title that is sometimes given as 'Back and Forth' and sometimes rendered with emoticons, as on this IMDb webpage. The film's actual title is a glyph: a double-headed arrow, placed horizontally so that the arrow points left and right. Don't ask me how to pronounce it. That title is by far the most imaginative and noteworthy aspect of this wretched little home movie that never should have left home. Entirely because of its unusual title, this film has been mentioned in several major film books, including Patrick Robertson's 'The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats'.

I'd been warned that this movie was rubbish, but I wanted to see it for myself; I finally caught up with it at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Oh, blimey! I should have listened to those warnings! This movie is utter dreich: a Scots word I shan't translate here. We see some youngsters (silhouetted in shadow) in a prefabricated classroom in New Jersey, talking about nothing interesting. The rear wall has windows, giving us a glimpse of some attractive outdoors, but only taunting us with this view as evidence that much more interesting things are going on outside this classroom.

Throughout this horrible adventure in cinema mal-de-mer, the camera steadily pans back and forth, left to right and back again. Each time the camera reaches the end of its swing, there's a click and a shudder as the camera bungs into a wooden stop arm. We spend 52 minutes knocking back and forth like this. I never much fancied tennis, far less ping-pong, but this movie has the same excitement and drama as a very dull ping-pong match.

Some amateur film-makers can't resist making the camera do something merely because it CAN, rather than using the camera to tell a story. Film schools teach students that the three basic camera movements are not equally dynamic: the most interesting movement is forward/backward, with the camera tracking into (or out of) the visual plane. The next most interesting movement is tilting upward or downward. The LEAST interesting camera movement is the horizontal pan, moving sideways ... and this vertiginous film consists of constant sideways movement back and forth, to no discernible purpose. The film-maker is effectively wanking himself, and expecting the rest of us to be as impressed with his wankery as he is.

I'm not a fan of Francis Ford Coppola, but the only impressive example I've ever encountered of the camera movement seen here -- a constant pan back and forth -- was in the final sequence of Coppola's 'The Conversation'. In that film, Gene Hackman plays a surveillance expert who (as the biter bit) suspects that he too is being spied upon. The film ends with a prolonged shot of Hackman, but the camera moves in a steady back-and-forth pan ... as if we are witnessing the P.O.V. of a surveillance camera. We never learn whether this means that Hackman is genuinely being watched (by a real spycam) or if we are merely experiencing Hackman's paranoia. Brilliant! Unfortunately, there isn't one tenth of one percent of that shot's brilliance in this ridiculously self-indulgent 'Back and Forth' film.

I'd like to rate this rubbish zero points. But, solely because of its unusual title (the only reason I ever found out about this film in the first place), I'll give it one point.


5 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed