Phil Solomon

"Etched in black and vivid color and infused with melancholy, Mr. Solomon's stunningly beautiful films have an emotional power that might well attract more viewers, if not for the maddening divisions that find a few rarefied films classified (read: ghettoized) as art, while the vast majority are relegated to the commercial trough...

...Using a combination of found footage and original 16-millimeter film, Mr. Solomon attains these mysterious visuals through an optical printer, a machine (part camera, part projector) used for
rephotographing film. (Sound creeps into the films quietly and sporadically via drones, human harmonies and whirrs borrowed from the natural world.) Distinctly old-fashioned, optical printers make the most of the medium's plasticity, allowing filmmakers to add effects like dissolves and slow-motion movement, along with other, more pronounced manipulations. It is an intensely laborious process, one that speaks to the handcrafted integrity of Mr. Solomon's work as well
as to its intensely personal quality. Although part of a long avant-garde tradition, Mr. Solomon makes films that look like no others I've seen. The conceit of the filmmaker as auteur has rarely been more appropriate or defensible.

The wow factor of Mr. Solomon's finest films can be as difficult to convey as the deep feeling they instill in the viewer. One of the pleasures of this sort of work is how it can loosen the grip that
narrative traditionally has on the medium, inspiring different ways of seeing and feeling, a point wonderfully made at the Redcat program on Nov. 14, when daubs of color, undulating grain and perfectly considered edits inspired audience members to both hushed silence and reverential applause.

Created in the shadow of the mainstream, films like these underscore the stultifying sameness of most movies, an industrial uniformity that reminds me of a film project Bertolt Brecht conjured up while living here titled "Boy Meets Girl, So What." The liberating effect of Mr. Solomon's work suggests a rather different realm: Film Meets Vision, Rejoice!"

- Manohla Dargis, "An Artist Who Inspires New Ways of Seeing," The New York Times, November 18, 2005