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River Yar

Chris Welsby
1971-72
35 min Colour Mag stripe sound 16mm on two screens
Made with William Raban

River Yar

Shot through an upstairs window in a water mill on the Isle of Wight, overlooking a tidal estuary.

A camera recorded one frame every minute (day and night) for two separate three-week periods in autumn and spring. The film is shown on two adjacent screens, each having a soundtrack that was recorded on a sampling basis.

The left hand screen was shot at the autumn equinox and the right-hand screen at the spring equinox. The structure of the film is based on the rotation and tilting of the earth as we pass from summer to winter and back. The centre of the film coincides with the equinox and is the point at which day and night are the same length on both the left and the right screen.

In River Yar nature is a major participant in the structuring of the work and the alternation of day and night is the rhythmic pulse which drives the film forward.CW.

"River Yar is one of the richest and most beautiful films to have been made by a British film-maker."
John Du Cane

"River Yar (1972) is a classic of English avant-garde landscape in its merging of process and Romanticist imagery."
Mike O. Pray

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