It takes three minutes for something to “happen” in New York Portrait. The first three minutes are just static scenes, unless one want to count the smoke coming out of a stack.
Portrait might be better titled, New York Establishing Shots. With the exception of a lengthy–for the short, which is a long fifteen minutes–sequence of birds flying around, none of the shots really need to be moving images. They could just as well be stills. And Portrait doesn’t have music; it’s just the images and the fade outs and ins.
It only gets long at the end, but in the last thirty or so seconds, when Hutton has moved into night. He has this amazing shot of the Goodyear blimp and he’s unable to top it. At that point, Portrait needs to end… but doesn’t.
Hutton’s got some great shots. Portrait might be compelling at half of the length.
Directed by Peter B. Hutton.