*Corpus Callosum

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*Corpus Callosum
Directed by Michael Snow
Written by Michael Snow
Starring Jacqueline Anderson
Cinematography Harald Bachmann
Robbi Hinds
Edited by Greg Hermonavic
Micheal Snow Artworks
Release date
  • 2002 (2002)
Running time
92 minutes
Country Canada
Language English
Budget 3,000

*Corpus Callosum is a 2002 experimental Canadian film directed by Michael Snow. The title is a reference to the part of the brain which was once thought to have been home to the human soul, and which scientifically passes messages between the two hemispheres. The Corpus Callosum of the film refers to the mysterious space between illusion and reality.[1] It won the Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.Corpus Callosum is said to be a "digital self-appraisal of [Snow's] work",[2] showcasing his passion for visual manipulations through editing. Throughout the film, Mr.Snow's voice can be heard as he directs the film, adding to the break in the fourth wall which the film attempts to create.


This film does not possess a linear plot as most do, but is rather a jumble of images stuck together in an apparently meaningless sequence.

Office workers in this film continue about their day-to-day business, all while their surrounding constantly shift without their knowledge. Workers clothing changes on their bodies without them noticing, people they are conversing with disappear. At one point, office workers engaging in a meeting suddenly stick together as if drawn to one another by electricity. Other men in the room begin to contort other’s bodies, tying each other into knots with their own limbs. At this point, two men are pictures shaking hands outside. When their hands touch, both men melt in to one another, emerging after a few seconds having reversed all physical characteristics. People who work in the office also seem to have god-like powers, changing things as simple as the lighting in the room, to as impossible as causing people to walk on the ceiling rather than the floor – all by changing settings on their computers. [3]

Aside from documenting the technology driven disaster which is the workplace, the home is also pictured as a war zone in Snow’s film. The home consists of a mother, a father, and a boy. The three sit on their sofa, completely enthralled by what they are watching on the television as everything around them shifts. The sofa changes colours, so do the walls, the photos, their clothing etc. The living room they sit in is filthy. Scattered about are empty and full cups, pizza and takeout containers which also shift with no apparent notice from the family members. At a point within this sequence within the home, the end credits of the film are played on the screen, leading the viewer to believe that the film is over. After the credits finish, the film continues playing the same scene, the family sitting in their living room just as they were before the credits.

The final scene to this film is a couple who go to a movie in a theater. The movie plays, and the couple watches the film, which is of themselves from another perspective.


The Mundanity of Office Life

A clear theme throughout the office portion of this film is centred around the mundanity of office life, which Snow pushes to the point of manic dehumanization. These office workers are portrayed as being almost cyborgs themselves. This is a commentary by Snow on the mechanical nature of office work. He dresses all of the office workers in the same clothing, has them seated at identically drab desks, completing the same task over and over again. These people seem as though they could not possibly function as people do, but that is the point. Snow hopes to play a Kafkaesque reality across every person's screen so as to remind them of the dangers which lie in the uniformity and repetition of the workplace.

As well as making it clear that the lack of choice which seems available to these workers is well below human capacity, an interpretation of this film might claim that snow aims to depict the mental break which happens to a person who may be existing under these conditions. The antics which occur in the workplace - the contortions, the displays of nudity, and the general animalistic behaviour - all seem to be completely possible outcomes of a mental break. A breakdown of this nature seems a reasonable reaction to a life of extreme oppression, as a sudden release and accumulation of the desires oppressed by a mechanical existence. [4]

Power of Technology

Perhaps the most obvious theme which runs through this film is the power of technology. Throughout the film, the characters are completely immersed in either their televisions or computer screens. These devices are the cause of their not noticing the shifting and changing environments which surround them. Aside from being distracted from reality by their computer screens, the people in the office actually have the capability to change their reality through their computers.



  1. ^ Peranson, Mark. "Into the Snow Zone". The Village Voice. The Village Voice. 
  2. ^ Goodard, Peter (8 March 2002). "Snow Falling on Cinema". Toronto Star. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Elvis. "Digitally Giving Time and Space the Silly Putty Treatment". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Szczepaniak-Gillece, Jocelyn (5 September 2002). "Corpus Callosum (2002)". Pop Matters. 

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