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Horizons1973

Elective Affinities I

  • 4.1
One of the greatest if all-too-often overlooked landscape films in American cinema, Larry Gottheim’s HORIZONS displays a sensitivity to the seasons that seems more in keeping with Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” than the typical nature documentary. HORIZONS was not only Gottheim’s first feature-length work, it was also his first film to deploy rhythmic editing after several single-shot works. Working with Virgil’s four-part poem “Georgics” and Antonio Vivaldi’s concertos “The Four Seasons” as models, Gottheim arranged his painterly compositions into four distinct sections, each edited according to its own exacting pattern. The seasonal flux thus informs both the form and content of the image, with the basic elements of trees, sky, hills and the occasional crisscrossing clothesline filmed in every imaginable light. The resulting work is at once rigorous and meditative: a film that demands repeated viewings but captures the eye from the first. - Max Goldberg

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Member Reviews (1)

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top reviewer

This film is constructed of beautifully composed shots of the American Midwestern landscape. I assume shot in Iowa or Missouri, this film is, at least visually, a wonderful meditation on season and the American landscape. Even without a real narrative outside the changing of the seasons, this is worthwhile. But 77 minutes with no sound at all is challenging. If, as the Fandor description says, this is like Walden, well, I can believe that. But Walden had words and this doesn't. Or, to make the film far more difficult, sound. So I committed the heinous sin of finding a good orchestral soundtrack to go with this film (thanks to the music of Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman) and used it as a background. Heresy as it might be, it really worked with the film and helped express the narrative of people, if usually unseen, understanding the fertile and lovely American landscape.

2 members like this review

OK, I can see you found value and honesty in film, and I respect that honesty. But having to add your own auditory preferences doesn't make me feel comfortable with your review.

I thought it was a quilt stitched together with tenuous fabric.

By the way, I'm from Missouri and understand the images. I just don't see the vision.

Upstate NY actually