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Winter Solstice (1974)

An experimental short by Hollis Frampton who films a couple and their dog as they walk farther away into the woods.


Hollis Frampton




Hollis Frampton films a series of random, unedited shots centering on the process of steel making within a steel mill. He films the huge slab of metal, glowing with heat, being moved through the works, and shows the full blast of the furnace as sparks fly and create fireworks. Fire and molten lava are also featured, all against a black background space which suggests an otherworldly environment. Written by Tornado_Sam

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Abstract Documentary
31 July 2019 | by Tornado_SamSee all my reviews

"Winter Solstice" was part of a trilogy of short films entitled "Solariumagelani" that was intended to later be used as part of Hollis Frampton's enormous film cycle "Magellan"--a thirty-six hour work consisting of a huge series of films, several to be shown every day of the year at a specific interval. Many films from the cycle are stand-alone works that work well without this greater context, but without any background the footage here that comprises this thirty-three minute movie comes up, to the average viewer, as very badly edited and overly choppy. While I have no other statement to support this theory, I think that, because of lack of title card and ending logo, the footage in this film actually remains raw to this day and was probably shot to edit later (which never happened since Frampton died before he could finish the cycle). As such it is not very easy to judge, and no doubt had a bigger purpose unseen due to remaining unedited.

"Winter Solstice" was shot in a steel mill, and consists of a series of repetitive shots showing the full process of manufacture within the building. The effects of fire, lava and sparks produced in the footage are interesting and eye-catching, but the lack of editing is obvious due to jittery camerawork and lots of repetition. It's hard to tell exactly what you're looking at when you view the footage, and due to the abstract quality of the imagery Frampton probably intended this to be so. In the end, an interestingly abstract piece of work that is a somewhat hard to judge because of presumably never being finished. Likely as not if it had been edited, the run-time would have been much shorter and the large bulk of footage was shot probably to ensure Frampton he would have enough to work with. Although it would still have to remain fairly long considering he only had five days of the cycle to fit in twenty-four hours of footage.

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Release Date:

10 April 2012 (USA) See more »

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1.33 : 1
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