An Evening with Nathaniel Dorsky

Director in Person
Screening on Film
$10 Special Event Tickets

Since the early 1960s, Nathaniel Dorsky has been crafting a remarkable body of work that offers one of the most exquisitely beautiful and contemplative experiences of pure cinema to emerge from the American avant-garde. Entirely silent and designed to be screened at non-standard projection speeds, Dorsky's films are explore the uniquely cinematic experience of light and time. Reflecting on his films, Dorsky states: "It is the direct connection of light and audience that interests me. The screen continually shifts its dimensionality from being an image-window, to a floating energy field, to simply light on the wall. …Silence allows these articulations, which are both poetic and sculptural at the same time, to be revealed and appreciated."

The HFA is honored that one of the great masters of experimental cinema will join us to present his latest, critically acclaimed film, Song and Solitude, together with two earlier works that Dorsky calls "devotional songs." After the screening, Dorsky will sign copies of his book, Devotional Cinema.


  • Song and Solitude

    Directed by Nathaniel Dorsky.
    US, 2005, 16mm, color, silent, 21 min.

Old School doesn't describe it. Dorsky has achieved such a subtle mastery over the most basic means of cinematic expression – composition, duration, juxtaposition – that he can squeeze a wealth of emotional vibrations out of the silent, seemingly banal interplay of foreground and background objects. A formalist with a brimming, elegiac soul, Dorsky will gently rock your attitude toward cinematic landscape. His world is a sublime mystery measured by patience and unmatched visual insight. – Paul Arthur, Film Comment

  • Threnody

    Directed by Nathaniel Dorsky.
    US, 2004, 16mm, color, silent, 25 min.

Threnody is a somber but luminous progression through a delicate articulation of earthly offering to a friend who died. It is the second of two devotional songs, the first being The Visitation. - ND

  • The Visitation

    Directed by Nathaniel Dorsky.
    US, 2002, 16mm, color, silent, 18 min.

The first of two devotional songs,The Visitation is a gradual unfolding, an arrival so to speak. I felt the necessity to describe an occurrence, not one specifically of time and place, but one of revelation in one's own psyche. The place of articulation is not so much in the realm of images as information, but in the response of the heart to the poignancy of the cuts. – ND

Special support provided by the Academy Foundation of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Special thanks to Scott MacDonald.

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