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In his 2003 treatise Devotional Cinema, Nathaniel Dorsky writes that “the more film expresses itself in a manner intrinsic to its own true nature, the more it can reveal to us.” His own works constitute a search for metaphysical experience through images of the everyday world. They engage the viewer within the act of perception itself, each frame capturing a complex interplay of shadows, reflections, and movement, cut to a precisely measured pace that plays off the body’s metabolic rhythms, and edited, as he describes it, in the service of “the delicate necessities of meaning.” Compline is his final piece shot on Kodachrome—the medium he used exclusively prior to its discontinuation—while Aubade and The Return are his first films shot with Eastman and Fuji color negative, respectively. Works of great subtlety, these films contend with the expressive potential of each stock, their textures, tones, and relationships to light.
Nathaniel Dorsky’s work is being screened in the Museum’s second floor film & video gallery March 21 through 25.