Hutton’s most impressive work … the filmmaker’s style takes on an assertive edge that marks his maturity. The landscape has a majesty that serves to reflect the meditative interiority of the artist independent of any human presence. … New York is framed in the dark nights of a lonely winter. The pulse of street life finds no role in New York Portrait; the dense metropolitan population and imposing urban locale disappear before Hutton’s concern for the primal force of a universal presence. With an eye for the ordinary, Hutton can point his camera toward the clouds finding flocks of birds, or turn back to the simple objects around his apartment struggling to elicit a personal intuition from their presence. … Hutton finds a harmonious, if at times melancholy, rapport with the natural elements that retain their grace in spite of the city’s artificial environment. The city becomes a ghost town that the filmmaker transforms into a vehicle reflecting his personal mood. The last shot looks across a Brooklyn beach toward the skyline of Coney Island’s amusement park. The quiet park evokes the once frantic city smothered by winter. Nature continues its eternal cycles impervious to the presence of man, the aspirations of society, or the decay of the metropolis.
(Millennium Film Journal)
director Peter Hutton