Dada cinéma

By : Hans Richter - Viking Eggeling - Man Ray – René Clair - Fernand Léger et Dudley Murphy

Divers, 1921-1927, PAL, 4/3 - 92 mn
Toutes zones, N&B, mono


Not available for sale now


DADA CINEMA

Directed by : Hans Richter - Viking Eggeling - Man Ray – René Clair - Fernand Léger et Dudley Murphy

Several countries, 1921-1927, PAL, 4/3 - 92 mn
All zones black and white, mono

RHYTHMUS 21, Hans Richter, 1921, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 2'10
DIAGONAL SYMPHONY (La Symphonie Diagonale), Viking Eggeling, 1921, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 7'
RETURN TO REASON (Le Retour à la Raison), Man Ray? 1923, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 2'
ENTR’ACTE, René Clair & Francis Picabia, 1924, 35mm, n/b, sound, 20'
LE BALLET MECANIQUE, Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, 1924, 35mm, n/b, sound, 14'
FILMSTUDIE, Hans Richter, de Hans Richter - 1926, 35mm, n/b, sound, 3'30
EMAK BAKIA, Man Ray, 1926, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 17'
GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST (Vormittagsspuk), Hans Richter

The cinematographic universe of Dada is a crossroads of iconographic subversion and abstraction, formal geometry and corporal eroticism, bathed in a general indifference to “making sense” - unless it is making sense of its own deconstruction.
Philippe-Alain Michaud

RHYTHMUS 21, Hans Richter, 1921, 35mm, n/b, muet, 2'10
In this first of the series, originally known as FILMS IST RHYTHMUS, he experiments with square forms. These forms appear in very simple to very complex compositions-from the beginning shots where the squares with the frame. The effect is a subversion of the cinematic illusion of depth. Richter creates a precise rhythm with the movement of these shapes. “The simple square of the movie screen could easily be divided and “orchestrated,” wrote Richter in 1953. “These division or parts could then be orchestrated in time by accepting the rectangle of the ‘movie canvas’ as the form element. In other words, I did again with the screen what I had done years before with the canvas. In doing so I found a new sensation: rhythm- which is, I still think, the chief sensation of any expression of movement.” (Publication excerpt Circulating Film Library Catalog, New York The Museum of Modern Art, 1984, p. 166)

DIAGONAL SYMPHONY, Viking Eggeling, 1921, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 7'ad feedback
A tilted figure, consisting largely of right angles at the beginning, grows by accretion, with the addition of short straight lines and curves which sprout from the existing design. The figure vanishes and the process begins again with a new pattern, each cycle lasting one or two seconds. The complete figures are drawn in a vaguely Art Deco style and could be said to resemble any number of things, an ear, a harp, panpipes, a grand piano with trombones, and so on, only highly stylized. The tone is playful and hypnotic.

RETURN TO REASON (1923) is an experimental film, white specks and shapes gyrating over a black background, a light-striped torso, a gyrating eggcrate. It consists of animated textures, Rayographs and the torso of Kiki of Montparnasse (Alice Prin). One of the first Dadaist films.

ENTR'ACTE, René Clair & Francis Picabia, 1924, 35mm, n/b, sound, 20'
One of the best—and most entertaining—films to come out of the Dada/Surrealist period, ENTR'ACTE (1924) is also worth watching for the appearance of notable figures such as Francis Picabia (who initiated the project), Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Erik Satie.
This extraordinary early film from director René Clair was originally made to fill an interval between two acts of Francis Picabia’s new ballet, “Relâche”, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris in 1924. Picabia famously wrote a synopsis for the film on one sheet of note paper, headed Maxim’s (the famous Parisian restaurant), which he sent to René Clair. This formed the basis for what ultimately appeared on screen, with some additional improvisations. Music for the film was composed by the famous avant-garde composer Erik Satie, who appears in the film, along side its originator, Francis Picabia. The surrealist photographer Man Ray also puts in an appearance, in a film which curiously resembles his own experimental films of this era.

LE BALLET MECANIQUE, directed Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy (1924), was a project by the American composer George Antheil and the filmmaker/artists Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy. Although the film was intended to use Antheil's score as a soundtrack, the two parts were not brought together until the 1990s. As a composition, LE BALLET MECANIQUE is Antheil's best known and most enduring work. It remains famous for its radical style and instrumentation as well as its storied history.
In concert performance, the "ballet" is not a show of human dancers but of mechanical instruments. Among these, player pianos, airplane propellers, and electric bells stand prominently onstage, moving as machines do, and providing the visual side of the ballet. As the bizarre instrumentation may suggest, this was no ordinary piece of music. It was loud and percussive –- a medley of noises, much as the Italian Futurists envisioned new music of the 20th century.

FILMSTUDIE, Hans Richter, de Hans Richter - 1926, 35mm, n/b, sound, 3'30
Hans Richter’s pioneering Dada work FILMSTUDIE was an early attempt to combine Dadaist aesthetics and abstraction. Made in 1926 Richter’s film presents the viewer with a disorientating collage of uncanny false eyeballs, distorted faces and abstract forms... Hans Richter’s pioneering Dada work FILMSTUDIE was an early attempt to combine Dadaist aesthetics and abstraction. Made in 1926 Richter’s film presents the viewer with a disorientating collage of uncanny false eyeballs, distorted faces and abstract forms (none of these themes is treated constantly). It's similar to Man Ray's work in its ballet of motion which combines a playful tension between figurative and abstract forms, both in negative and positive exposure.
FILMSTUDIE is essentialy a transitional work of mixed styles. A number of devices drawing attention to the technical specificity of photography (multiple exposures and negative images) are also included and enter into a successful fusion with the remaining elements.

EMAK BAKIA, Man Ray, 1926, 35mm, n/b, silent film, 17'
A long series of unrelated images, revolving, often distorted: lights, flowers, nails. A lightboard appears from time to time carrying the news of the day. Then, an eye. A woman in a car drives along country roads. Farm animals. She descends from the car, again and again. Images: dancing legs, seashore, swimming fish, geometric shapes, cut glass. A man removes his starched collar. It rotates. A girl has garishly painted eyes. No, she's only fooling. Those were her eyelids.

GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST, Hans Richter, 1927, 35mm, n/b, sonore, 6'
Hans Richter, noted for his abstract shorts, has everyday objects rebelling against their daily routine. GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST is a 1928 German animated short film directed by Hans Richter. It utilizes stop motion for some of its effect and live action for others. The original soundtrack was destroyed by the Nazis, but new audio tracks have been created by artists such as The Real Tuesday Weld. The film does not present a coherent narrative, and includes a number of seemingly arbitrary images.