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Wavelength (1967)

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.



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Credited cast:
Hollis Frampton
Lyne Grossman
Naoto Nakazawa
Roswell Rudd
Amy Taubin
Joyce Wieland
Amy Yadrin


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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



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Release Date:

17 March 1967 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Длина волны  »

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Did You Know?


Michael Snow has stated that his intent with the film was for it to be "a summation of my nervous system, religious inklings and aesthetic ideas." See more »


Strawberry Fields Forever
Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Performed by The Beatles
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User Reviews

I'm glad those things don't have a director's cut
25 October 2013 | by See all my reviews

"Wavelength" is so avant-garde that it merges cinema with torture in a true definition without exaggeration. Right next to Warhol's "Vinyl" but almost without characters or dialog, the director holds us in a room where effects and editing dictate the changes going in there while the still camera records days going by, strange noises causing a great deal of pain in our ears. Like "Vinyl", the only salvation is in the brief soundtrack, here with "Strawberry Fields Forever" playing at the first minutes. Apparently there's a story involving new residents at this apartment, a dead body and all but most of the time it's a suffocating experience of being trapped in a nightmare that never ends until waves come crashing in. It goes on for 45 minutes. If you're brave enough like me, you endure the test until the final moment. Many collapse after 5 minutes. The ones who like this are just fooling everybody.

This is not a movie. This is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain and annoyance in whoever watch it, therefore torture. The difference is that you can walk out of if or turn it off. Art like great literature has the power of causing effects, sensations, feelings and above disturbance with the world we live in, almost as if a masochist device we proudly say we enjoy and appreciate and wouldn't hesitate in going through again. Why? Because the artists are giving us something, giving us life reflected as it is, they're sharing their views, they're telling the truth. Things like "Wavelength" shatters that notion because we're not getting anything but a pretentious saying that there's something in there, to quote his own words, Mr. Snow says of this film: "it's a summation of my nervous system, religious inklings and aesthetic ideas". If analyzed movies as a person, well, then I wasn't pleased to meet you. Art disturbs but we can enjoy it. "Wavelength" disturbs but we don't enjoy. And I empathize the word art cause this can't be it's reverse, a simple entertainment, in no possible way. It's not easing my mind, it's not distracting me.

I made the comparison with Warhol, contemporary of Snow but a few miles distant and in the right road, because "Vinyl" was that painful but the Artist (with the capital A, indeed) was trying to create a story in a proper way so audiences would be part of it. It's hard to like but it's easy to understand. Not to mention, Andy could film the Empire State for 24 hours, a couple kissing for a long time, a guy eating mushrooms for 40 minutes AND make something out of those moments. The experimentation worked, life was there and possibilities along with it.

It gets two stars because I've seen more disastrous waste of time, and it was fun to sing along with The Beatles at the beginning. The noise that comes afterwards will haunt me for life. Once again, damn you, Schneider! 2/10

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