1925-1931 / 16mm / b&w / silent / 1S / 52' 30

“’Portrait of a Young Man’ was a silent 16mm film of three reels. Rodakiewicz considered adding sound to the film but decided that musical accompaniment would only be saying the same thing twice.” —Harry Dartford

“It was an integrated collection of the many things that appealed to me as visually expressing thoughts and feelings going on within me. Its subject matter ranged from cigarette smoke, machinery, leaves, clouds, water (especially the sea) -- but contained no people. The job of editing this material was done purely on a basis of feeling for the proper continuity -- a manner I still employ today.” —Henwar Rodakiewicz

“It was an impressionistic picture cut in musical rhythm in the form of symphony with different rhythms. It was a type of thing that had beauty.” —Floyd Crosby

“Rodakiewicz was trying to express himself through these inanimate objects of nature; he was actually showing himself. It was a remarkable but personal piece of filmmaking.” — Fred Zinnemann

“In comparison with other montage films, Rodakiewicz’s shots are not simply long but long enough to test most viewers’ patience. He understood that the camera can provide a form of meditative mindfulness, and that cinema can be a means of achieving not just excitement but serenity.” —Scott MacDonald

Notes provided by the artist:

“Camera: Bell & Howell Filmo 70 D turret, equipped with uncoated Zeiss Jena lenses, as follows: f 2.5 cm 2.7 Tessar, f 2.5 cm 1.4 Biotar, f 5. cm 2.7 Tessar.

Film: Eastman Kodak reversal panchromatic, developed at Eastman in Rochester. Basic shooting @ 16fps, slow motion segments @ 64 fps. Exposure often the reverse of then accepted practice: i.e., exposed for highlights instead of shadows.

Shooting: scattered over period between 1925-31. Locations: Bermuda, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, British Columbia.

General notes: Shooting sporadic over six years. Locations relevant only to what happened to be seen there. For almost entire period, no plan for continuity of a structured film. Motivation entirely to capture keen experiences no matter what the subject matter. A constant winnowing for the significant detail. Eventually thought occurred that the footage revealed the person. Film accordingly so titled and edited. George[sic]a O’Keeffe urged bringing it to Stieglitz. Only film ever shown at An American Place. This led to first professional film job.” —Henwar Rodakiewicz

Courtesy: Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941


distribution format Digital file on USB stick
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 29,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 75,00 €