Sunday, March 18, 2012


Fans of Koyaanisqatsi (1982) and Baraka (1992) should take note of the groundbreaking, Academy award-winning short film Organism (1975).  Made over the course of fifteen years by experimental film director Hilary Harris, the short work pioneered many of the techniques at play in the aforementioned feature-length films.

Harris was given credit for additional cinematography on Koyaanisqatsi and Organism's influence on the post-production stage of that film, as well as the work of just about anyone working with time-lapsed and/or tilt-shifted imagery, looms large.

The film's title refers to its relational meditation based in scale between living organisms and the metropolis that is New York City.  Harris intercuts microscopic footage of biological systems at work with moving images of the city as traffic flows through it, electric light replaces natural light and structures are destroyed and replaced, comparing and contrasting the movements in a manner that uncannily unites them.

Here's a short interview about Organism from Hilary Harris' 1979 appearance on "Screening Room" with Robert Gardner:

And, finally, here is Organism in its entirety (you'll need to log into Fandor via Facebook in order to view the entire film--unfortunately the only way it's available on the web):


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A dvd compilation of Hilary Harris' films, including Organism, is available for purchase here.

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