Thursday, September 28

Special Events ArchiveStaff Picks (past events)

Chris Brokaw Presents the Films of Peter Hutton

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Advance Tickets: $12 general admission / $10 for students, seniors, members. Tickets at the Door: $15 general admission / $13 for students, seniors, members. Brattle passes not accepted for this special event.


Experimental filmmaker Peter Hutton (1944-2016) is renowned for his silent cinematic portraits primarily of landscapes and cities, a body of work spanning some forty-five years. Informed partly by his work as a merchant marine, Hutton made films ranging from seven to sixty-five minutes in length, often in black and white. He likened them to paintings, affording the audience a refreshing sense of agency, and once said “the experience of my films is a little like daydreaming.” He worked as a cinematographer for his former student Ken Burns and for the documentarian Albert Maysles, and taught film at Harvard, CalArts, Hampshire College, SUNY Purchase, and at Bard College, where he served as director of the Film And Electronic Arts Program from 1989 until his untimely death in 2016.

Boston musician and film composer Chris Brokaw will present five of Hutton’s films: Florence (1975), In Titan’s Goblet (1991), Skagafjördur (2004), New York Portrait, Chapter I (1979), and Boston Fire (1979), performing live scores to some of the films while leaving others silent, alternating the evening between the two approaches.

“The fact that these films were deliberately created without a soundtrack isn’t necessarily the most interesting thing about them, but is intriguing to those of us interested in sound and its role in narrative – these films inspire a series of questions worth exploring. Hutton was interested as far back as the 70’s with wanting to spare the audience information overload (which was awfully prescient). His filmmaking was both gentle and jarring; his generosity to the audience and what it brings to the cinematic experience was not only gracious but kind of blew the whole thing open. Once you get into it, all the things that you think about sound and effect start to change. I hope that my scores will only serve, ideally, to deepen that questioning.” – Chris Brokaw

Brattle Film Notes: In Memoriam of Peter Hutton, by Tyler Patterson