Though certain filmmakers have been making films for personal reasons, rather than institutional or financial ones, since the days of silent cinema, this tendency toward authorial independence only began to coalesce into a bonafide artistic movement in the United States during the 1940s – the decade in which American filmmakers like Maya Deren and Kenneth… Read more »
My introduction to Germaine Dulac many years ago in film school revolved around the surrealists. I learned about her fraught collaboration with Antonin Artaud, which resulted in a group of surrealists rioting at the premiere of The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928). However, Germaine Dulac was so much more than an object of surrealist ire and… Read more »
Andy Warhol’s films are infamous for extremely long takes, static shots, and excessive lengths. Though not all his movies fit that mold perfectly, films like Empire (1965) are formative for how audiences and critics have conceived his cinematic works. In this video essay, I look at Warhol’s relationship to time, suggesting that his cultivation of boredom… Read more »
Take a film you’ve created and cut it into four sections, equal in length, and spool those sections on four different film reels. Then, hire someone to splice them back together, taking one foot from each roll, in succession, in a 1-2-3-4 pattern, repeated mechanically, for 20 minutes. This was the method used to create… Read more »
Before Disney’s Fantasia (Joe Grant & Dick Huemer, 1940) introduced the idea of visual music to mass audiences, experimental filmmakers had been playing with the idea for decades. As early as 1909, Italian futurists were painting abstract forms onto film stock, attempting to translate the purity of classical compositions into moving image media.
As rhythmic meditations on urban spaces that shied away from character and narrative, city films of the 1920s and 1930s blended modernism, documentary, everyday life, and abstraction. The filmmakers took their cameras into the streets, capturing architecture, people, and industrial tempos, and then they pieced together their footage using graphic and thematic modes of organization.