?O, Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film)

Director: Philip Hoffman

Thursday Mar 23rd

  • 16mm
  • Toronto
  • 1986
  • 21min

Visiting Artist Retrospective film

Philip Hoffman's ‘?O,Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film)’ uses a diary format to skirt along the edge of someone else's filmed narrative (Peter Greenaway's ‘A Zed & Two Noughts’), and to trace the anatomy of pure image-making. 'Pure' is both the right and the wrong word: Hoffman is a man addicted to the hermetic thisness of filmed images, and plagued by the suspicion that these images, far from being pure, are really scabs torn away from the sores of the world. Found footage shot by his grandfather (a newsreel cameraman) is the starting point for Hoffman's meditations on the illusion of visual purity, and on the distance between the 'neutral' image and the value-laden narrative that it can be made to serve. It is a moral distance, one that this filmmaker surveys with a wary fascination." - Robert Everett-Green

“Philip Hoffman is one of the few contemporary filmmakers whose work provides a bridge to the classical themes of death, diaspora, memory, and finally, transcendence.” (Martha Rosler)

He has been honored with more than a dozen retrospectives of his work. In 2001 the publication Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman, was released comprising some 25 essays. He has received numerous awards including the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Golden Gate Award and the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s Gus Van Sant Award. In 2016 he received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Hoffman currently teaches at York University, and since 1994, has been the Artistic Director of the Independent Imaging Retreat (Film Farm).