TABLE OF CONTENTS

IN COMMON HOURS: THE FILMS OF ANDREW NOREN

SOMETIME IN THE 1970S, I attended a screening—I think it was at the Whitney Museum in New York—that included Andrew Noren’s Wind Variations (1968), an eighteen-minute silent meditation on the light play created by curtains gently blowing in the breeze coming through a Manhattan apartment window. I was struck, on the one hand, by the loveliness of the film and, on the other, by its ambivalent reception. When one viewer voiced his displeasure with how “boring” the film was, another told the complainer to shut up. The small audience’s continuing volatility provided a stark counterpoint to the visual experience. At that time, slow, meditative films were unusual. In more recent years, James Benning, Nathaniel Dorsky, Peter Hutton, Leighton Pierce, and others have not only expanded on the idea of a contemplative cinema (Dorsky has called it “devotional cinema”) but have begun to attract audiences

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