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Avant-Garde Cinema (Sept. 30)

Hans Richter,  Film is Rhythm: Rhythm 21 (Film ist Rhythmus: Rhythmus 21), 1921 (3 min.) 

At first, the audio set me off, but once the imaging began develop I was able to tune out the sound.  When people think of rhythm the first this to come to mind isn’t typically film.  So, I was surprised with Film is Rhythm.  I felt that this film reached its rhythmic peak near the end.  The speed and size of the various shapes altered and added more of a sound for itself.  The scenes were less repetitive, so it gave the audience a better understanding of what the overall message or theme of the film could be.

Ghosts Before Breakfast (Vormittagsspuk), 1928 (9 min.)

 I thoroughly enjoyed this film!  The opening scene of the clock followed by the flying hats was amazing.  I wonder if the scene with the target with the numbers 1-12, where the man was aiming the gun, was synonymous with clock in the beginning.  When he dropped the gun to the floor, it began to turn as the hands of the clock do.  Also, the scene where the men walk behind the light post and disappear was quite clever.  I really wonder how they were able to edit that scene as clean as they did.

Walther Ruttmann,  Lightplay: Opus I (Lichtspiel: Opus I), 1921 (11 min.)

 The shapes, coloring, and textures used in this film felt very organic.  Initially, the spherical colored shapes reminded me of the planets.  The red wavy motions resembled solar flares.  As the film progressed, the shapes began to evolve and the colors were integrated into the same scene while keeping their own individuality.  When the director did this, it added more personality to the theme of this film, while maintaining its organic feel.

Viking Eggeling, Diagonal Symphony (Symphonie Diagonale), 1924 (7 min.)

There was very little variety and differentiation of scenes in this film.  It was almost as if the entire film was one long drawn out scene.  It became a little difficult to watch after awhile because of this.  The viewer did not have much to get out of this film.  Perhaps the theme of this film is repetition or consistency of imaging.

Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, LightPlay: Black-White-Gray (Ein Lichtspiel schwarz weiss
grau), 1930 (6 min.)

Light Play: Black-White-Gray was a very slow moving and progressing film.  The director put an emphasis on the shadowing of the objects.  The shadowing was so specific that you could see and almost feel the texture of the object through its shadow.  The shadows and actual objects themselves began to overlap.  This gave more intensity to the coloring of the shadows.  Although black, white, and gray are the only colors found in shadows, the coloring combined with the texture and overlapping of the object gave the film more intensity.

Oscar Fischinger, Optical Poem, 1938 (7 min.)

Optical Poem was similar to music because of the speed and variety of its scenes.  The speed and variety gave the film its own form or rhythm.  The imaging in each scene consistently intrigued the human mind.  The background music was not necessary in this film because this film had the ability to given the audience feeling through its rhythm.  Near the end, the film almost reminded me of a Disney or fantasy type of appeal.

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, J. S. Bach, from Fantasia, (Visual Design: Oscar
Fischinger), 1940 (9 min.)

I really appreciated the combination of the special effects and the orchestra in this film.  There was plenty of personality and them in Fantasia to adequately receive the message being given.  Fantasia is definitely a classic and people that are not too familiar with avant-garde cinema, like myself, can appreciate its mystique.  I believe that Fantasia is an inspiration to earlier forms of our modern-day cartoons.  The use of colors and special effects is extremely similar to the earliest forms of cartoons.


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