14 Film Experimental Cinema. During our conferences and seminars you often hear us talking about some directors who have marked our path as filmmakers. You have asked us many times so below we listed some experimental and avant-garde films that we have selected for you. This is a short list of authors / films over a period of time from 1930 to 1980.
Durante le nostre conferenze e seminari spesso ci senti parlare di alcuni registi che hanno segnato il nostro percorso come Filmmakers. Ci avete chiesto molte volte di suggerirvi dei film da vedere, quindi di seguito abbiamo elencato alcuni film sperimentali e d’avanguardia che abbiamo selezionato per te. Questa è una breve lista di autori / film per un periodo di tempo dal 1930 al 1980.
14 Film Experimental Cinema
Today man has discovered that that which seemed simple and stable is, instead, complex and volatile; his own inventions have put into motion new forces, toward which he has yet to invent a new relationship. Unlike Ulysses, he can no longer travel over a universe stable in space and time to find adventures; nor can he solve intimate antagonisms with an adversary sportingly suitable in stature. Rather, each individual is the center of a personal vortex; and the aggressive variety and enormity of the adventures which swirl about and confront him are unified only by his personal identity. The integrity of the individual identity is counterpointed to the volatile character of a relativistic universe — Maya Deren
1 MAYA DEREN
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) 14′, b/n, sonoro
Maya Deren credeva che il cinema fosse un mezzo nuovo per esplorare tempo, la memoria e il movimento. Si poneva delle domande molto interessanti: Che cos’è il cinema? Qual è il suo significato sociale?
Puce Women was my love affair with Hollywood, with all the great goddesses of the silent screen. They were to be filmed in their homes; I was, in effect, filming ghosts.
— Kenneth Anger
2 KENNETH ANGER
Puce Moment (1949) 6 1/2′, colore, sonoro
Un’evocazione sontuosamente colorata dell’Hollywood ora è sparita, come dimostra un pomeriggio nell’ambiente di una star del cinema degli anni ’20. «Puce Moment» è un frammento di un progetto cinematografico abbandonato intitolato «Puce Woman.» Il film riflette le preoccupazioni di Anger per i miti e il declino di Hollywood.
Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects, and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of colour. Imagine a world before the ‘beginning was the word.’ — Stan Brakhage
3 STAN BRAKHAGE
Dog Star Man (1961-64) 80’ca, colore, muto
L’artista, in sequenze astratte e in assenza di commento sonoro, richiama cosmologicamente la creazione del mondo e la formazione delle galassie attraverso immagini di eruzioni solari, ma anche – passando dal macrocosmo al microcosmo – dimensioni più intime, che ricoprono di una dimensione percettiva ultraterrena anche le scene ed i dettagli di ambienti naturali e domestici (in quel periodo era tornato in Colorado, a vivere tra le montagne) compresi gli affetti – il cane, la moglie, il bambino – che risultano anch’essi presi nel clima simbolico che permea l’opera.
Questa si pone come un autentico poema visivo, articolato in un Prologo e quattro Parti, in cui le speri-mentazioni, tutte manuali o apportate tramite la modifica delle lenti, concorrono a comporre una potente suggestione comparabile con quella che deriva dalla poesia di William Blake. Dog Star Man evoca in effetti un percorso iniziatico dell’Uomo (si coglie lo stesso artista durante una dura arrampicata in una foresta innevata) con testimoni il cosmo ed i quattro elementi, mostrando, nelle diverse fasi, l’Azione, la Rigenerazione, l’Amore e la Fertilità, ed infine la Morte come lente attraverso cui esperiamo la limitatezza della Vita.
4 JONAS MEKAS
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971-72) 82′, colore, sonoro
Words Apart. Daybooks: 1970-1972
home. — Jonas Mekas
14 Film Experimental Cinema
Everything in the world has a spirit which is released by its sound.
— Oscar Fischinger
5 OSCAR FISHINGER
An Optical Poem (1937) 7′ Colore, sonoro
The realization that reason and anti-reason, sense and nonsense, design and chance, consciousness and unconsciousness, belong together as necessary parts of a whole – this was the central message of Dada. — Hans Richter
6 HANS RICHTER
Dreams That Money Can Buy (1946-48) 78′, colore e b/w, sonoro
‘There is no why for my making films. I just liked the twitters of the machine, and since it was an extension of painting for me, I tried it and loved it. In painting I never liked the staid and static, always looked for what would change the source of light and stance, using glitters, glass beads, luminous paint, so the camera was a natural for me to try but how expensive!’ — Marie Menken
7 MARIE MENKEN
Go! Go! Go! (1962-64) 16mm, color, silent, 11.5 min
If you look back in history you’ll find that the artist and the scientist are inseparable. In many ways the artist’s work is identical with scientific exploration. The artist is able to focus more in the area of consciousness, but with the same scientific zeal. Yet cosmic consciousness is not limited to the scientist. In fact scientists are sometimes the last to know – Jordan Belson
8 JORDAN BELSON
Samadhi (1967) 16 mm 6′ Colour, Sound
People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually, it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like you’re watching television — you don’t feel anything.
― Andy Warhol
9 ANDY WARHOL
Vynil (1965) 64′, b/w, sonoro
10 MICHAEL SNOW
Wavelength (1966–67) 16mm, colour, sound, 45′
Wavelength is anything but simple, however, as Snow’s statement of intention suggests. He describes the film as “a summation of my nervous system, religious inklings and aesthetic ideas.”1 The spine of the film is its famous zoom from a fixed camera position facing a wall with four tall sash windows.
Over the course of the film, the angle of view narrows until the frame is filled with a black and white photograph of waves pinned up between the middle two windows. Other features of the room, in which four events involving people take place, are sloughed off. The spectator is led to concentrate on this central element, the photograph—it has been there all along—until the image is washed out and the film comes to an end.
“If you take the facts of the retina, the flicker mechanism of film projection,” Paul Sharits wrote, “then you can make films without logic of language.” T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G assaults language rather more directly with its single-word soundtrack (“Destroy”) and the image of poet David Franks holding a pair of scissors to his tongue. In spite of this violence, the film’s blasts of pure color suggest a measure of transcendence in keeping with Sharits’ interest in modeling his motion-picture works after mandala wheels. The glittery images are pure pop. But the flicker effect perforates the viewer’s defenses. – Max Goldberg
11 PAUL SHARITS
T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968) 12′ color sound
This intense, even overwhelming sensorial stimulation was something Sharits frequently wrote about as part of his project in articulating what he called a “cinematics”: the idea that film was capable of reorienting our perception in a way that classical narrative film could never do, because of the latter’s emphasis on spectacular illusion and passive immersion in the narrative events. In this sense, the feature film is merely another vehicle for the delivery of narrative—surely a limited use of the medium. Sharit’s structural films like TOUCHING, however, aim to engender a wider range of spectatorial perception, ideally leading to more ethical, empathic modes of relationality and the processing of trauma.
The latter is especially true for Sharits, whose images, writing, and biography all suggest a lifelong concern with the shattering of the self, both in psychological terms as well as in his images of dismemberment and the radical vulnerability/openness of the body.
12 HARRY SMITH
Heaven and Earth Magic (1959-61) 66′ b/n sound
13 STAN VANDERBEEK
Science Friction (1959) 10′ color, sound
Stan Vanderbeek creates a satirical portrait of the Cold War-era space race in this exemplary film from his early collage animation period. Combining magazine/newspaper cutouts, direct animation, found footage, Oskar Fischinger-esque abstractions, and a smattering of live footage of the artist himself as a mad-scientist, Science Friction offers a gonzo vision of leaders, scientists, and bureaucrats locked a fevered contest to be the first on the moon. With a playfully grim conclusion that predates fatalistic countercultural satire of Dr. Strangelove, Science Friction suggests that no matter who wins, we’re all eventually cooked.
14 BRUCE CONNER
Mongoloid (1978) 16mm, 3.5′ b/w, sound
Music by DEVO “Mongoloid”
Mongoloid he was a mongoloid, happier than you and me.
Mongoloid he was a mongoloid, and it determined what he could see.
Mongoloid he was a mongoloid, one chromosome too many.
And he wore a hat, and he had a job
And he brought home the bacon so that no one knew
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