Michael Snow (b. 1929)
So Is This (1982)
"SO IS THIS parlays an elegantly simple concept into an unpredictable, cumulatively rich experience.
"The film is a text in which each shot is a single word, tightly-framed white letters against a black background. Compared to Snow's recent epics ... it seems almost a throwaway but it's also the most satisfying film he's made in a decade
"With formalist belligerence, SO IS THIS threatens to make its viewers 'laugh cry and change society,' even promising to get 'confessional.' Although the film does reflect Snow's personality - his Canadian-ness, preference for humor over irony, obsession with art world chronology (who did what first) - its only confession is the tacit acknowledgement that he's sensitive to criticism. Snow takes full advantage of his film's system of discourse to twit restless audiences .Ä A lot of this is pretty funny but SO IS THIS is more than a series of gags. Snow manages to defamiliarize both film and language, creating a kind of moving concrete poetry while throwing a monkey wrench into a theoretical debate (is film a language?) that has been going on sporadically for 60 years.
"If you let it, Snow's film stretches your definition of what film is - that's cinema and SO IS THIS." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice