Chris Kennedy

“Peter Hutton: Time and Tide.” December 14, 2016

Peter Hutton: Time and Tide

Peter Hutton’s passing this summer at the age of 71 was a sad surprise. Of the generation of experimental filmmakers that came of age in the 1970s, Hutton was particularly robust (his youth was spent in the Merchant Marine), and his films evince a tireless commitment to a Romantic vision and a serene way of looking at the world that reflected both senses of the word “composed.” Influenced by the pastoral paintings of the mid-19th century Hudson River School, Hutton’s films are characterized by silent, black-and-white long takes of landscapes, cityscapes and waterways; later films introduced colour as Hutton shifted his focus more to matters of movement and time.

The films in this programme provide a short survey of Hutton’s concerns, particularly his intense engagement with the region he would live in for the majority of his life. Florence, which dates from shortly after Hutton’s move to the Hudson River watershed after school in San Francisco, is an early film in his mature style, albeit focused on intimate domesticity rather than the exteriors he would soon become best known for. As Hutton learned the region he began to explore the stunning landscapes of the northeast, as represented in the expressive black-and-white images of Landscape (for Manon). He was also drawn to the urban beauty of New York City, returning to it often in his New York Portrait series; Chapter II is an especially evocative study of the city’s ever-changing scale. Time and Tide is a culmination of these regional concerns as Hutton travels the Hudson River with his camera, which for the first time is loaded with colour negative film rather than his signature Tri-X black-and-white reversal stock. Predominantly shot on a tugboat guiding barges up the Hudson, the film perfectly captures the urbanized yet somehow bucolic interplay of the rivers that feed into our continent’s metropolises.

Florence dir. Peter Hutton | USA 1975 | 7 min. | 16mm
Landscape (for Manon) dir. Peter Hutton | USA 1987 | 18 min. | 16mm
New York Portrait, Chapter II dir. Peter Hutton | USA 1981 | 16 min. | 16mm
Time and Tide dir. Peter Hutton | USA 2000 | 35 min. | 16mm

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 6:30pm