"The films of Philip Hoffman have revived the travelogue, long the preserve of tourist officials anxious to convert geography into currency. Hoffman's passages are too deeply felt, too troubled in their self-remembrance, and too radical in their rethinking of the Canadian documentary tradition to quicken the pulse of an audience given to starlight. He has moved from his first college-produced short, On the Pond - set between the filmmaker's familial home and his new found residency at college - to a trek across Canada (The Road Ended at the Beach); from Holland, where he was invited to the set of Peter Greenaway's A Zed and Two Noughts and made ?O, ZOO! (THE MAKING OF A FICTION FILM) to Mexico for his haiku-inspired short SOMEWHERE BETWEEN JALOSTOTITLAN AND ENCARNACION; from PASSING THROUGH/TORN formations pan-continental dialogue of madness and memory to KITCHENER-BERLIN'S oceanic traversal; and finally, to River, a landscape meditation that leads inevitably home.
"Denoting the family as a source and stage of inspiration, Hoffman's gracious archeology is haunted by death, the absent centre in much of his practice, a meditation on morality and its representation. His restlessness navigations are invariably followed by months of torturous editing as history is strained through its own image, recalling Derrida's dictum that everything begins with reproduction. Hoffman's delicately enacted shapings of his own past is a once poetry, pastiche, and proclamation, a resounding affirmation of all that is well with independent film today." - Mike Hoolboom, "Inside the Pleasure Dome: Fringe Film in Canada"
A selection of Philip Hoffman's work is available for preview on vimeo: