By Alonso Castro
Dresden Dynamo (1972) is one of the films that Lis Rhodes made in her years as a student in the media course at the North East London Polytechnic. Lis Rhodes belonged to the group of avant-garde British filmmakers of the 1970s. Rhodes’ work is recognized for having experimented with the audiovisual language, linking its aesthetic proposal with a political questioning of the conventional forms of both the film field and society.
In Dresden Dynamo, there is an interest in the experimentation of aesthetic forms in cinema. The projected images are a result – apparently accidental – of the use of Letraset and Letratone. Lis Rhodes used the Letratone on an blank soundtrack tape, producing a sequence of particular sounds. From there, she composed a series of images with Letraset, obtaining filmic copies in black and white, to which she added two-color filters to give contrast to the resulting forms.
The result of this experimentation of the material, as well as the audiovisual language, becomes a game of forms in different patterns of colors, sounds and movements. In this way, the rhythm of the geometric images exposed is consistent with the sounds produced by them. The sequentiality of the visual and sound patterns is reproduced continuously without altering the rhythm, playing with the position of the geometric shapes in terms of depth and movement.
The cinematography of Peter Hutton is characterized by being silent and with visual finishes in black and white. His films do not present greater complexity in the use of the elements of the frame, except for his use of the camera movement that served to portray the plasticity of the passage of time. With minimal gestures of the movement he managed to portray, with naturalness and virtuosity, landscapes based on the composition of light and the movement of objects such as a railway or imperceptible elements such as wind.
A film like Landscape (for Manon) (1987) by Peter Hutton recalls those first moments in the history of cinema in which different images were recorded, above all, of landscapes without major adornment. In Landscape, the look of Hutton aims to account for those everyday moments that go unnoticed, but that can be portrayed with beauty rescuing the passage of time through the capture of light.
Landscape (for Manon) also has a contemplative approach to the natural landscapes of the Hudson River valley marked by the nuances in black and white, as well as the absence of sound. The portraits of Hutton are represented with a realistic imprint, but at the same time they manage to transcend towards the sublime of the everyday