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Avant-Garde Cinema (Oct. 21)

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon,  1943: 13 min

The character in the black robe was somewhat unsettling if not startling.  I am not sure if Maya Deren purposely chose a mirror to be the robed character’s face, but it was unique to say the least.  The other woman was also randomly floating though windows and doorways along the ceiling of someplace.  It wasn’t until I saw the sleeping version of herself on the chair near the record player.  I couldn’t tell if we were observing the dream of the sleeping woman, or an out-of-body experience she was having.

A Study In Choreography For Camera. 1945: 2 min

While watching this film is silence, I somehow felt what the dancer was feeling.  The silence allowed the viewer to really focus on the grace and skill of the dancer.  At some point, it was quite suspenseful to watch the person move.  Almost every move was slow and timed correctly to truly expose a possible theme of the film.  The theme to feel what the character is feeling.

Kenneth Anger, Fireworks.  1947: 14 min

All that I can really say about this film is that it reminded me of a nightmare of sorts.  I seemed as though the young man was continually being haunted by marines.  Most of the time he was even being brutally beaten by them.  Perhaps this nightmare occurred when he burned packet of matches with ‘United States’ written in it.  The only this that somewhat made sense was the obvious placement on the firework on the young man toward the ending.  The firework was taken as comedic relief to such a depressing and violent film.

Eaux d’ Artifice. 1953: 12 min

This film had a very elegant and royal feel to it.  At times, the elegance and royalty gave an eerie feel to the audience,  Perhaps it was the distinctive blue coloring used to emphasize the nighttime that gave this eerie feeling.  It was so blue that everything looked metallic!  There was water flowing everywhere throughout the garden.  I was so impacted by the water and the metallic look in this film, that it simply distracted me from other important elements.

Marie Menken, Lights. 1965:6 min

I felt like I was trapped inside of a Christmas tree for the film half of the film.  Once the camera lef the closeup light, and finally showed a full shot of an actual Christmas tree, I knew that my initial feeling was correct!  At some points, the shaking of the camera combined with the various lights, created a psychedelic feeling.  There were so many colors, textures, shapes and designs present.  Everything was bright, happy, and positive.

Willard Maas, Geography of a Body. 1943: 7 min

The commentary is this film truly made the human body seem as though it had its own geography.  The most unique part of the human map I observed, was when the commentator referred the tongue as a river.  The presence and observation of both a man and a woman was understandable, all while questioning.  It made the viewer wonder if it was purposely made to feel as though it was an intimate setting.  It was an intimate geographical of the male and female anatomy.


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