dan browne

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december 2017

Two articles were recently published on Palmerston Blvd. (2017) that I am happy to share:

Darren Hughes wrote a very generous analysis at the end of his assessment of TIFF '17 for the online journal Senses of Cinema. I will quote a passage from it here:

"Palmerston Blvd. is so neatly conceived, I wondered if the viewing experience might seem redundant, or if the concept might not be able to sustain the relatively long run time. In fact, it was the highlight of the fourth and final shorts program, 'As Above, So Below.' Working within tight formal restraints, including silence, Browne was forced to focus his creative attention on the limited set of tools at his disposal and constantly reinvent familiar images. I especially like a shot four minutes in, when he finds a new composition from a slightly lower, slightly skewed angle that turns the window frames into a kind of cubist collage. Gradually, other signs of life appear – first the family cat, and then split-second glimpses of Browne and his partner, and then finally, near the midpoint of the film, an infant swing and high chair. Seven years ago at Wavelengths, I found myself crying unexpectedly during a screening of John Price’s Home Movie, a 35mm, hand-processed study of his growing children. I explained afterward to a friend that Home Movie expressed a particular sensation I’d experienced daily during the five months since my first child was born. I called it a “nostalgia for the present” – a constant, conscious realisation that this moment is already gone and that someday, maybe soon, maybe in the distant future, I would desire deeply to return and reexperience it. I already felt the ache. Palmerston Blvd. has the same effect. When winter snows arrive and the halcyon light falls lower in the sky, the room becomes every warm room, with the sounds of a hissing radiator or the smell of a furnace. And when, at the end, the signs of Browne’s life are removed one by one – the toys and then the plants and then the table and chairs – it provokes a deep-in-the-bones feeling of loss, not only for a particular home (that universal, melancholy experience of locking a door for the last time) but also for a particular domesticity, for a particular light."

And Francesca Rusalen, writing in L'emerge del possibile, considers the role of the camera in shaping consciousness and perception (in Italian, here is a translation via Google):

"Palmerston Blvd. is not, in fact, its shots and even the most of their sum. The eye of the camera here is not the eye of those who want to monitor the movements and changes, of what records these shifts and changes [...] the camera proves to be the tool that expands man, his third eye, which does not see what we do not see, like binoculars, but that implements what we can not: full delivery to the cinema."

In other news, I will be doing another live performance, with Nelson Moneo (violin), Meghan Cheng (violin), Laila Zakzook (viola), Cheryl O (cello), Bill McBirnie (flute), and Eugene Martynec (electronics and keys), at Gallery 8-11, on Saturday December 16th, 2:30pm. This concert will feature the Canadian premiere of NYC composer (and youngest-ever Pulitzer Prize winner) Caroline Shaw’s Ritornello 2.sq.

This month I also published an essay, "Cinema for the Inner Eye: On the films of Paul Clipson," for San Francisco Cinematheque's blog. I was surprised to recently discover there has been no sustained critical assessment of Clipson's films, despite the fact that he has made over fifty in the past decade, some of which I consider to be among the finest poetic cinema of recent years. I tried to fill this gap (thanks to a generous invite from Steve Polta), and while this short essay is by no means exhaustive of Clipson's oeuvre, I hope it goes some distance towards explaining what I feel is significant in his work, and provides a point of entry for new viewers. You can look at some of his films on Vimeo.

2017 has been a strong year for me and there were many highlights: making the Images Festival's 30th anniversary trailer, 40+ screenings and performances, including my first international solo retrospective and first time at Wavelengths (on the 50th anniversary of its namesake – a film also about a window, whose maker was in the audience), video installations in three cities running for a total of six months, several chapters accepted for forthcoming publications, and a lot of great feedback. See you in 2018.