Unlike the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, Montreal's iconic urban landmark is horizontal and spectral, not vertical and solid. Le Phare is a filmic portrait of the Montreal's nocturnal marker, a spinning beacon that has been raking four long beams of light across the city's environs since 1972. The nightly presence of these intense, rotating rays is reassuring for many, and yet also oddly perplexing: the illuminating machine does not provide reconnoitering for aviation; it is not synched to act as a time-keeping device; nor does it commemorate a specific historic moment or personage. Indeed, the lights serve no practical function or particular memorializing role whatsoever. The beacon serves only as an evanescent, immaterial monument to itself. 


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