PRINT May 1972


Esthetic Polarity in Independent Cinema and Wintersoldier

Any formulation of esthetic polarity in the independent cinema would most likely counterbalance social or political documentary with technologically oriented color abstract film. Although both forms create expectations of total immersion into the surface of the screen (the former emotional, the latter sensual in effect), the documentary is predicated on a naturalistically photographed image, a unity between subject and operational space, and the activation of all extrareferential material inherent in that space—usually by way of a spoken soundtrack (I am here excluding the travelogue and quasi-documentary elements in the films of Michael Snow, Ernie Gehr, Barry Gerson, etc.). The abstract film, through a series of obfuscatory cinematic strategies, strips any location of its blatant physicality, renders it unrecognizable and thus neutral in terms of function and reference. While the

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