Tribute: Peter Hutton

Two Rivers

Peter Hutton
USA 2001, 2002
53 min

TWO RIVERS is a poetic, comparative portrait of the Hudson River and Yangtze River that speaks to the rise of China in relation to the decline of a post-industrial American region. (Bard Graduate Center) THREE LANDSCAPES zeroes in on the industrial terrain ringing Detroit (where Hutton grew up), the bucolic pastures of the Hudson River Valley (where he lived), and Ethiopian salt flats (where he travelled under Robert Gardner’s sponsorship). The most obvious link between the three is labour, but the film functions less as a thesis statement than a poetic meditation, a haiku-like attempt to distill the landscape using a few sparing, echoing graphic forms. The Detroit sequence is the most immediately arresting, its subdued colour palette and precise graphic calculations of grass, clouds, sky, smoke, and industrial architecture leading to a dramatic chain of images of two men inching across a high ladder – a vision of meditative calm in struggle. (Max Goldberg)

16 mm
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