David Rimmer I: Surfacing

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 29 minutes

David Rimmer I: Surfacing

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 29 minutes

TIFF Cinematheque - Free Screen

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The first part of our two-night retrospective devoted to the Canadian avant-garde great spotlights Rimmer's gorgeous landscape films.

David Rimmer will be joined onstage by Mike Hoolboom and the Academy Film Archive's Mark Toscano for a post-screening discussion on Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23.

This programme is rated PG.

The world premiere of the restoration of David Rimmer's Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival was the first fruit of a major restoration project — undertaken by Mark Toscano at the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles — devoted to one of Canada's most important experimental filmmakers. Rimmer has been exploring the formal properties of filmmaking since the late sixties, employing a structuralist approach that eschews that mode's occasional tendency towards intellectual dryness by filtering it through a West Coast sensitivity to landscape, poetry and psychedelia; indeed, many of his early films, comprised of a visceral mix of re-photographed found images and looped sounds, were made in the context of Vancouver's interdisciplinary happenings.

Even though Rimmer's films are recognized as key works of Canadian experimental cinema, they have not been screened extensively in Toronto for quite a few years. Recent publications, and Rimmer's honouring with the 2011 Governor's General Award, has brought back some well-deserved attention to his work, but it is unquestionably the AFA's restoration project that is the most important endeavour in resurrecting his invaluable oeuvre. Conceived as a status report on this long-term project, these two programmes of restorations and newly struck prints offers Toronto audiences a chance to discover or reacquaint themselves with the early work of one of Canada's most influential experimental filmmakers.

— Chris Kennedy

Part I: Surfacing

Like many filmmakers raised in or transplanted to the verdant wilds of British Columbia, the stunning beauty of the West Coast landscape has played a central role in Rimmer's work. The films in this programme capture visions of natural beauty both undisturbed (the shadowed patterns of clouds on mountains in the time-lapse film Landscape being one of the most idyllic) and marked by human expansion, as in Canadian Pacific's view of Vancouver's Burrard Inlet, framed by the North Shore Mountains across the water and the railroad that serves as an essential connection to the rest of Canada in the foreground. The programme culminates in Rimmer's early classic Migration, a tour de force of expressive personal filmmaking in which Rimmer creates a stunningly kinetic relationship with the world around him.

Landscape (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1969 / 8 min. / 16mm)

Canadian Pacific (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1974 / 9 min. / 16mm)

Seashore (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1971 / 11 min. / 16mm)

Surfacing on the Thames (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1970 / 5 min. / 16mm)

Narrows Inlet (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1980 / 10 min. / 16mm)

Treefall (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1970 / 5 min. / 16mm)

Migration (dir. David Rimmer / Canada 1969 / 11 min. / 16mm)

The Free Screen is always free. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office two hours prior to event start time. One ticket per person.

Guest Biography

    • David Rimmer
    • David Rimmer was born in Vancouver. He studied at Simon Fraser University. In 2011 he was awarded a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. His films include Square Inch Field (68), Migration (69), Surfacing on the Thames (70), The Dance (70), Seashore (71), Real Italian Pizza (1971), Canadian Pacific (74), Canadian Pacific II (75), Bricolage (84), As Seen on TV (86), Divine Mannequin (89) Black Cat White Cat It's a Good Cat if it Catches the Mouse (89) and Local Knowledge (92).