Nathaniel Dorsky

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"The major part of my work is both silent and paced to be projected at silent speed (18 frames per second). Silence in cinema is undoubtedly an acquired taste, but the delicacy and intimacy it reveals has many rich rewards.

"In film, there are two ways of including human beings. One is depicting them. Another is to create a film form which, in itself, has all the qualities of being human: tenderness, observation, fear, curiosity, the sense of stepping into the world, sudden murky disruptions and undercurrents, expansion, pulling back, contraction, relaxation, sublime revelation. In my work, the screen is transformed into a "speaking character", and the images function as pure energy rather than acting as secondary symbol or as a source for information or storytelling. I put shots together to create a revelation of wisdom through delicate surprise. The montage does not lead to verbal understanding, but is actual and present. The narrative is that which takes place between the viewer and the screen. Silence allows these delicate articulations of vision which are simultaneously poetic and sculptural to be fully experienced." - Nathaniel Dorsky

"The films of Nathaniel Dorsky blend a beauteous celebration of the sensual world with a deep sense of introspection and solitude. They are occasions for reflection and meditation, on light, landscape, time and the motions of consciousness. Their luminous photography emphasizes the elemental frisson between solidity and luminosity, between spirit and matter, while his uniquely developed montage permits a fluid and flowing experience of time. Dorsky's films reveal the mystery behind everyday existence, providing intimations of eternity." - Steve Polta, San Francisco Cinematheque

"In the end, despite all the branding and the starry distractions, the Toronto International Film Festival remains an essential and committed platform for the movies, the purest example of its dedication being its excellent Wavelengths selections. Programmed by Andréa Picard, the Wavelengths series tends to be a showcase for some of the greatest films of the festival and was again this year, notably with several silent works from the avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky, including Pastourelle. Mr. Dorsky calls these nonnarrative films which are filled with images of brilliantly hued flowers shot with a hovering camera devotional songs, and there is something truly lyrical about their ephemeral beauty. There is the world that we see, and then there is the world that artists like Mr. Dorsky see and generously share."

Selected Press (PDF file):

Tone Poems: P. ADAMS SITNEY ON THE FILMS OF NATHANIEL DORSKY (P. Adams Sitney, Artforum, November 2007)

COLOPHON (FOR THE ARBORETUM CYCLE) was named one of the ten best movies of 2018 by Manohla Dargis at the New York Times:

A 2018 review of COLOPHON (FOR THE ARBORETUM CYCLE) by Michael Sicinski is available here:

An 2018 interview with Nathaniel Dorsky by Ben Sachs for the Chicago Reader is available here:

A 2013 interview with Nathaniel Dorsky by Max Nelson at Film Comment is available here:

Daniel Kasman also included a wonderful reflection on Nathaniel's two 2013 films Spring and Song under SOUL:

NYFF51: Nathaniel Dorsky's Song and Spring Recall Diamonds of a Bygone Era by Gus Reed:

Filmography (updated 2016):
Ingreen (1964, 12 min.)
A Fall Trip Home (1964, 11 min.)
Summerwind (1965, 14 min.)
Two Personal Gifts a.k.a. Fool's Spring (Jerome Hiler & Nathaniel Dorsky, 1966-1967, 16mm, color, silent, 7 min.)
Hours For Jerome Part 1 (1980-82, 21 min.)
Hours For Jerome Part 2 (1980-82, 24 min.)
Pneuma (1977-83, 28 min.)
Ariel (1983, 16 min.)
Alaya (1976-87, 28 min.)
17 Reasons Why (1985-87, 19 min.)
Triste (1974-96, 18.5 min.)
Variations (1992-98, 24 min.)
Arbor Vitae (1999-00, 28 min.)
Love's Refrain (2000-01, 22.5 min.)
The Visitation (2002, 18 min.)
Threnody (2004, 25 min.)
Song and Solitude (2005-06, 21 min.)
Kodachrome Dailies from the Time of Song and Solitude (Reel 1) (2005-2006, 16mm, color, silent, 40 min.)
Kodachrome Dailies from the Time of Song and Solitude (Reel 2) (2005-2006, 16mm, color, silent, 40 min.)
Winter (2007, 21.5 min.)
Sarabande (2008, 15 min.)
Compline (2009, 18.5 min.)
Aubade (2010, 11.5 min.)
Pastourelle (2010, 16 min.)
The Return (2011, 27 min.)
August and After (2012, 18.5 min.)
April (2012, 26 min.)
Song (2013, 18.5 min.)
Spring (2013, 23 min.)
Summer (2013, 22.5 min.)
December (2014, 14.5 min.)
February (2014, 16.5 min.)
Avraham (2014, 20 min.)
Intimations (2015, 18 min.)
Prelude (2015, 20 min.)
Autumn (2016, 26 min.)
The Dreamer (2016, 19 min.)
Lux Perpetua I (2000-2002 / 2016, 23 min.) Original Kodachrome only
Lux Perpetua II (1999-2002 / 2016, 31 min.) Original Kodachrome only
Other Archer (2003 / 2016, 9 min.) Original Kodachrome only
Death of a Poet ( 2003 / 2016, 21 min.) Original Kodachrome only
Ossuary (1995-2005 / 2016, 43 min.) Original Kodachrome only


O Death (2023)
Pavane (2023)
Place d'Or (2023)
Dialogues (2022)
Naos (2022)
Ember Days (2021)
Interval (2021)
Terce (2021)
Emanations (2020)
William (2020)
Apricity (2019)
Canticles (2019)
Interlude (2019)
Calyx (2018)
Autumn (2016)
Prelude (2015)
Avraham (2014)
December (2014)
February (2014)
Song (2013)
Spring (2013)
Summer (2013)
April (2012)
Aubade (2010)
Compline (2009)
Sarabande (2008)
Winter (2007)
Threnody (2004)
Variations (1998)
Triste (1996)
Alaya (1987)
Ariel (1983)
Pneuma (1983)
Summerwind (1965)
Ingreen (1964)