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74 The Collected Writingsof Michael Snow Is that how you conceived of it? I think that that idea happened along with the idea of variations in time. But a lot of other things too. In '66,1 guess, I had acid for the first time and that was related to it. Do you think that dope in any way affects the product - what comes out of you? Yeah, I think so. Why did you decide on a zoom? I don't remember exactly. That was sort of a loaded question. What interests me about the zoom is that it's one thing the camera does that we can't do with our eyes. And one of the things I find in the film is the way the slow zoom questions the whole meaning of the zoom. I mean, you keep coming closer to the wall, but the sides don't disappear. You do lose some of the sides, but not much. You're really changing people's perspective rather than their point of view. I wrote a thing, originally for the New York Film-Makers' Cooperative catalogue, but it's appeared other places - this was before the film had received any acclaim and I said that I had wanted to make a definitive film. And it's true. All that year I'd been thinkingabout an essential film. Like it's coloured light on a flat surface. And the material of it is light and time. And the depiction of space. How do you conceive of the dramatic events in your film? It's funny to call them that, but because there are so few they take on even more dramatic significance (I mean in the middle of Wavelength there appears to be a death). That's the basic idea, but the original idea was even cooler. I wanted to have a body on the floor and have the camera pass over it. It's like the bookshelf moving in, which is really not so dramatic, but there's metaphoric connections between those boxes and looking out the windows and they're empty. And I wanted something that had some weight to be moved through the space. When you see the room for a long time, you lose the sense of how big it is, but when somebody traverses it you get an idea again how long it is. So the thing - the room, the space - gets flatter and flatter, which is its real reality, since it's coloured light on a flat surface - and then all of a sudden the surface is broken by this illusion of people, or whatever it is, that's moving in there. So that's what I was working with: the different kinds of realitiesinvolved. So the drama is secondary? It's secondary in that it was trying to position these things in time, and to work with the space. Then I thought about the kinds of connections between the events, and I wanted to have a range of connections. And this one thing, the phone call about the body, is a distinct kind of narrative intimation compared with the other things. Besides, other things in the film, like the colour things, are also events and have drama. Did you know when you first conceived thefilm that you would end on the shot of the water? No, it went through a lot of things, and I've got all kinds of notes. For a while I thought I might end on a still photo of the opening shot. That was a terrible idea. I went through a lot of things the zoom might move towards. One of them was a life of DukeEllington. Were you aware of how the final superimposition would look? No, and that's one of the things I've worried about when I've seen it. I'm not sure it was a good idea. ...


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