Spotlight on The Arboretum Cycle and Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle)

Posted December 20th, 2018 in New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Nathaniel Dorsky has spent the last two years meditating on the energy of light as creation in a seven film sequence that is now collected together as The Arboretum Cycle.

The work is followed by Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle), which is “a new thing, a spring later, a different maker.” Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018 and was named one of the ten best films of 2018 by Manohla Dargis at the New York Times.

An interview with Dorsky about The Arboretum Cycle is available here. A review of Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle) by Michael Sicinski is available here.


The Arboretum Cycle (2017 | 137 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

“For the past several years California experienced an extreme drought. But this past winter good fortune brought a bountiful amount of storms and liquid refreshment. The spring that followed took on magical and celebratory qualities of energy, joy, fullness, and rebirth. In walking distance from my apartment is San Francisco’s Arboretum located in Golden Gate Park. I decided that I would make a film now on a single subject and that subject would be the light – not the objects, but the sacredness of the light itself in this splendid garden. What I did not know is that the great beauty of this magnificent spring would bring forth not one, but seven films, each one immediately following the previous. I began to photograph on the second week of February and finished the editing of the seventh film during the last days of December.

These seven films spontaneously manifested as the stages of life: early childhood, youth, maturity, old age, and death. ELOHIM was photographed in early spring, the week of the lunar new year, the very spirit of creation. ABATON was photographed a few weeks later in the full ripeness of spring, the very purity and intoxication of passion. CODA was photographed in late spring, in the aftermath of this purity, the first shades of mortality and knowledge. ODE, photographed in early summer, is a soft-textured song of the fallen, the dissonant reds of death, seeds, and rebirth. SEPTEMBER is indeed, Indian summer, the halcyon swan song of earthly blessings. MONODY, shot in the fading autumnal glory, is an energized declaration of the end. And EPILOGUE, photographed in early December, rests in quietude, the garden’s energy now descending into the dark, damp earth.” – Nathaniel Dorsky


Colophon (for The Arboretum Cycle) (2018 | 13.5 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

“Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle) has three sections. It is in the spirit of the early Chinese landscape colophons, a text added to the horizontal scroll at a later date from when the landscape itself was enacted. Colophon was not made to be shown along with the Arboretum Cycle, but a new thing, a spring later, a different maker, so to speak.” – Nathaniel Dorsky