The Black Stallion

This has the nature very consciously of one of those Zen fables about learning to ride a horse, and goes to great lengths to get as near as possible to an archetypal rendering. Then it moves off the island and into society.

Ballard makes a discovery of the long lens to compress action (during the horse’s flight down a city street) that serves him well in some beautiful shots later on, for its own sake. The simplest and most direct telling is most abstract and doesn’t prevent effects like the revelation of the wealthy racing enthusiast who’s come to the track at night for a time trial, rain spatters his limousine, you can’t see the far side of the track, stop watches are examined in close-up, he steps into the mud with his white shoes, walks to the rail, the camera tilts up to show his deeply-spectacled, remote face.

A masterpiece on the continuation of experience from first encounter to finish line. Zeffirelli’s The Champ is akin to it on another line of abstraction.