Zorns Lemma (film)

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Zorns Lemma
Directed by Hollis Frampton
Running time
60 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Zorns Lemma is a 1970 American structural experimental film by Hollis Frampton. It is named after Zorn's lemma (also known as the Kuratowski–Zorn lemma), a proposition of set theory formulated by mathematician Max Zorn in 1935. It remains, along with Michael Snow's Wavelength and Tony Conrad's The Flicker, one of the best known examples of structural filmmaking.

The experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr stated: "Zorns Lemma is a major poetic work. Created and put together by a very clear eye, this original and complex abstract work moves beyond the letters of the alphabet, beyond words and beyond Freud. If you don't understand it the first time you see it, don't despair, see it again! When you finally 'get it,' a small light, possibly a candle, will light itself inside your forehead."[1]


"An exercise in mathematical logic in cinema,"[1] Zorns Lemma is prefaced with a reading from an early grammar textbook. The remainder of the film, largely silent, shows the viewer an evolving 24-part "alphabet" (composed initially of street signs photographed in New York City) which is cycled through, replaced and expanded upon. The film's conclusion shows a man, woman and dog walking through snow as several voices read passages from On Light, or the Ingression of Forms, by Robert Grosseteste.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zorns Lemma at HollisFrampton.org