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October 5

A Visit from Phil Solomon

Over the course of a long and wonderfully prolific career as a filmmaker and educator, Phil Solomon (b. 1954) has established himself as one of the great visionary artists active in American experimental cinema today. Working principally in 16mm and Super-8, Solomon is especially celebrated for his ability to conjure magical, transformative images by carefully manipulating the photochemical surface of film – using ingenious chemical and optical printing techniques to draw out figures and meaning hidden within the shadowy depths of each frame. Solomon’s predilection for nocturnal moods and movements lends his work a ruminative and melancholy quality, a yearning for the lost world evoked by the exquisitely beautiful and emotionally charged imagery of his films. Working within the tradition of lyrical image poetry pioneered by his good friend and former University of Colorado colleague Stan Brakhage, Solomon has defined a mode of oneiric yet intensely rigorous montage, a form of purely cinematic audio-visual language. At the same time, the structural and aesthetic strategies of modernist poetry and narrative painting are central traditions creatively engaged throughout Solomon’s films. In recent years Solomon has turned to video and to an unusual inspiration in particular – the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – to make a group of bewitching and mournful digital video pieces that explore and stretch the game’s somber urban dreamscape.

Before becoming a fixture in the Colorado and Western experimental film scenes, Solomon was a central figure in Boston’s own avant-garde circles, as a student at Massachusetts College of Art and later as a beloved instructor of film at Harvard and, closest to our hearts, a legendarily skillful projectionist at the HFA.

The Archive is proud to welcome back Phil Solomon to revisit mid-career masterworks and a chapter from his ongoing epic video. On Wednesday, October 7 at 8pm, Solomon will present a complementary program of film and video work at the MassArt Film Society.

Special thanks: The Academy Foundation.

Special Event Tickets $12
Monday October 5 at 7pm


Directed by Phil Solomon, Appearing in Person
US 1980, 16mm, b/w silent, 10 min.

The Secret Garden

Directed by Phil Solomon.
US 1988, 16mm, color, silent, 17 min.

Remains to Be Seen

Directed by Phil Solomon, Appearing in Person
US 1989/1994, Super-8 and 16mm, color, 17 min.

Psalm II: "Walking Distance"

Directed by Phil Solomon, Appearing in Person
US 1999, 16mm, color, 23 min.

Rehearsals for Retirement

Directed by Phil Solomon, Appearing in Person
US 2007, digital video, color, 10 min.

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