New York Portrait, Chapter III


Rental Format(s): 16mm

"[Hutton's] latest urban film, NEW YORK PORTRAIT III, takes on a unique tone in relation to Hutton's ongoing exploration of rural landscape. The very fact that Hutton is dealing with older footage, with archives of memory more than immediacy, gives it a different texture than his earlier New York films, in spite of many continuities with them. Hutton always found the presence of nature in the city, not only in his many shots of sky and vegetation, but also in the geometry and texture of the city itself, which seemed to project an independence from the human. This film seems to bathe itself in a nostalgia for things human, as if Hutton were looking at a vanishing race. Again humor rather than lamentation prevails, but never has it seemed that people were so contingent in Hutton's films. The high angle of observation, frequent in Hutton's previous New York films (and an invocation of their diaristic observer quality), here seems to carry a sense of withdrawal, a distance matched by compassion. ... The final image in which a small shape against the scale of skyscraper and sky suddenly reveals itself as human by its motion seems emblematic, as does Hutton's observations of the accidents and rescue of people below on the street." - Tom Gunning

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