Tribute: Peter Hutton

A Tribute to Peter Hutton

A few weeks ago, the American filmmaker Peter Hutton, one of the most eminent exponents of contemporary avant-garde cinema, passed away at the age of 71. Created over almost half a century, Hutton’s work represents an incomparable, personal cinematic cosmos and a great, radical and artistic appeal to the world at the same time. His films are simultaneously simple and multilayered artifacts, diary and travelogue, historical study and world survey, painting and sculpture, captured with a fascinating, insistent, poetic and open view of both natural and cultural phenomena. In comparison with most experimental filmmakers of his generation, Hutton was a kind of retrograde avantgardist, his work returning to the beginnings of cinema, the static, continuous silent view of the Lumière Brothers. A precise and curious cinema of world observation, on the one hand, and a highly artificial and subtle composition of a different, new cinematic world on the other. His films include city portraits and architectural descriptions, industrial studies and private notes. A recurring theme is the ocean that Hutton traversed as a sailor for many years, and the Hudson River, the valley of which represented a kind of home and place of refuge for the filmmaker. “I’ve never felt that my films are very important in terms of the history of cinema,” Peter Hutton once said. The tribute that we’re dedicating to this great friend of the Viennale in honor and commemoration shows that with each film by Peter Hutton, cinema starts all over again.

In the presence of Manon Hutton-DeWys.