Michael Snow - To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991)

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To Lavoisier Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991) is a collaboration with filmmaker Carl Brown, who specializes in homebrewed chemical film development. In a series of tableaux, people perform everyday tasks — sleeping, dining, reading, card-playing — as the camera arcs past and over them (the replete set of positions recalls La région centrale’s movements). Brown abraded the film stock, creating a continuous dynamic surface-effect tension with the comparatively static views and cueing the soundtrack, the crackle of fire. The physics and chemistry of combustion were the scientific focus of Lavoisier, the 18th-century savant.

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