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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathWieland
Reason over Passion / La Raison avant la Passion (Wieland, Joyce), 1969The Far Shore (Wieland, Joyce), 1976Solidarity (Wieland, Joyce), 1973

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»Reason over Passion / La Raison avant la Passion«

A fellow member of the structural film canon, Wieland's friend and occasional collaborator, Hollis Frampton, also took up the examination of the impact of competing language systems on the experience of film viewing. Frampton generated the alphabetical permutations for Wieland's next film «Reason over Passion / La Raison avant la Passion,» which offers 537 algorithmically determined combinations of the letters in the title, [11] Pierre Elliot Trudeau's most characteristic motto. Combinations of these letters are superimposed over a fast-motion trip through the landscapes of Canada. [12] In tracing the contours of those landscapes from one coast to the next, Wieland points out the hugely varied specifics of the «here» of Canada while continuing to contest any simple conclusions about individual passion for the landscape and political behaviour. «Reason over Passion» also introduces two further strategies that become increasingly important in Wieland's films over the following years: firstly, the linguistic displacement inherent in bilingualism [13] and secondly, the problematic relationship between the body as a source of experience and the translation of


that experience into meaningful expression, a preoccupation that is introduced by a motif common to Wieland's work in all media: the mouth as the source of expression. In «Reason over Passion» she silently sings the Canadian national anthem, with the camera trained on her mouth; the motif reappears in her lithographs and quilts of the period and is reintroduced, transformed, for the last time in her narrative feature film «The Far Shore.» «Reason over Passion» is widely considered her last «structural film;» after 1969 Wieland's filmmaking becomes formally radically hybrid, mixing documentary, avant-garde and agit-prop with wild abandon. Directly preceding her narrative feature Wieland made two shorts, «Solidarity» and «Pierre Vallière,» both of which have received little critical attention, and are usually considered idiosyncratic examples of straightforward political documentation, with only modest links to the aims of the avant-garde. I would suggest instead that they are most fruitfully read as works that hover between the concerns and methods of documentary and those of structural film, both taking up the problematic translation of experience into representation.

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