"A carefully prepared 'rush job' and come-on ... Every second counts in 'Prelude,' an unblinking wild three-way where most every action (teaser ingredients of sex, violence, music and food) occurs thrice as sound, verbal description and visual event. Though the constituent parts of any event are out of joint and rarely meet in the same incremental 'time zone,' perfect synch seems to only occur dead centre within the room. The action occurs within the same camera pan and single take.
"Like some of Snow's greatest work, the seemingly offhand 'Prelude' is conceptually meticulous. The film constructs a momentary physical world subject to specific behavioral and cinematic laws that parody the idea of 'Coming Attractions.' Taking off on the apparent paradoxes and backhanded clairvoyance of all trailers - how can something prepare a path and trail behind, acting as an appetizer but also spoiling all narrative surprise? Time and tempo are torqued to match the exaggerated metabolism and delivery of such advertisement cum films." - New York Film Festival
In my films, sound-image relations that are structural and have little or nothing to do with reinforcing narrative (this is sad, this is funny, this is exciting, etc) have been one of my main areas of interest for many years."Prelude" filmically depicts a scene, which is itself a prelude to a film. However, the synch sound of the acted scene has been re-arranged so that it "preludes" (and post-ludes) the visual actions, which produced it.
The image and the before modification sound are the result of a single tripod panning shot showing six Torontonians eating, talking etc - in a hell of a hurry in order not to be late for a festival screening. Everything in this film is either early or on time or late. "Prelude" is in some sense a prelude to itself because it's over just when one "understands," but by then it's too late and the film should be seen again (as what was being "preluded"). (Michael Snow)