April 10th – Mad Stork Cinema: 4 x Nathaniel Dorsky

Mad Stork Cinema presents a screening featuring four films by master filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky! Dorsky’s films are celebrated for their exquisite visions, the awe they inspire, and the way in which his films elude description; we are excited to present four recent films by an artist described as “making work of rare and sometimes startling beauty.” (Manohla Dargis, NYTimes)

“What is there to be seen is maybe harder to talk about, maybe because you can’t be too sure you’ve seen it, which is strange, because the films show so much. One term for the way they engage the observable world and then transmit a sense of it to the viewer is extreme seeing: Your sensibility finds itself pitched very discreetly – gently, even — at the threshold of recognizing what’s there, at (as I think Nick once said to me) “the beginning and end of language.” The slippery part, the uncertainty, is real, but so is the release of being allowed to look without anyone’s agenda intruding.” (Bill Berkson – For the Ordinary Artist, BlazeVOX Books)

Event Details:
April 10th, 2013
@ Mad Stork Cinema
Studio 4D / CMB / UT Campus at Dean Keaton and Guadalupe (map / campus building)


18.5min / 16mm / silent / 2009
Compline is a night devotion or prayer, the last of the canonical hours, the final act in a cycle. This film is also the last film I will be able to shoot in Kodachrome, a film stock I have shot since I was 10 years old. It is a loving duet with and a fond farewell to this noble emulsion. (ND)

16.5min / 16mm / silent / 2010
A pastourelle and an aubade are two different forms of courtship songs from the Troubadour tradition. In this case, the film Pastourelle, a sister film to Aubade, is in the more tumultuous key of spring. (ND)

August and After
18.5min / 16mm / silent / 2012
After a lifetime, two mutual friends, George Kuchar and Carla Liss, passed away during the same period of time. (ND)

26min / 16mm / silent / 2012
Following a period of trauma and grief, the world around me once again declared itself in the form of one of the loveliest springs I can ever remember in San Francisco. April is intended as a companion piece for August and After, and is partly funded by a gift from Carla Liss. (ND)


Nathaniel Dorsky, born in New York City in 1943, is an experimental filmmaker and film editor who has been making films since 1963. He has resided in San Francisco since 1971.

“In film, there are two ways of including human beings. One is depicting human beings. Another is to create a film form which, in itself, has all the qualities of being human: tenderness, observation, fear, relaxation, the sense of stepping into the world and pulling back, expansion, contraction, changing, softening, tenderness of heart. The first is a form of theater and the latter is a form of poetry.” – 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.

According to critic and historian Richard Suchenski, in Dorsky’s films objects are “decontextualized and sometimes unmoored from their surroundings, allowing connections to develop which resonate not only between shots but also across the films as a whole, encouraging more active forms of awareness.”

In his book Devotional Cinema (2003), Dorsky writes of the long-standing link between art and health as well as the transformative potential of watching film. He also writes of the limitations of film when its vision is subservient to a theme or representative of language description, which can describe a world but does not actually see it.

Dorsky was a visiting instructor at Princeton University in 2008 and he has been the recipient of many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship 1997 and grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, two from the Rockefeller Foundation, and one from the LEF Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the California Arts Council. He has presented films at the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern, the Filmoteca Española, Madrid, the Prague Film Archive, the Vienna Film Museum, the Pacific Film Archive, the Harvard Film Archive, Princeton University, Yale University, and frequently exhibits new work at the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde and the Wavelengths program of the Toronto International Film Festival. In spring 2012 Dorsky took actively part in the three month exposition of Whitney Biennial. His website is nathanieldorsky.net