Dziga Vertov captures the urban lifestyle of the cities of Odessa, Kyiv, and Kharkov of the Soviet Union. It is an experimental film documenting the urban landscape of Soviet Ukraine from the year 1929, in the form of a silent documentary film. The film features footage of urban citizens partaking in various activities, heavy machinery working, a ship leaving the port, factory workers, childbirth, and a cameraman risking life to get a good shot, and so on. Vertov uses various techniques like time-lapse, freeze frames, multiple exposures, jump cuts, close-ups, close-ups, etc. The film artistically presents the soviet city life without actors or a set storyline.
The film contains documentation of various family and life events of director Jonas Mekas. Mekas gives commentary on the events, explaining to the viewers his struggles to understand life. Through this film, Mekas attempts to figure things out by putting together his home filmed footage. From birthday parties and picnics to his childrens first steps, he tries to compile the thirty years of many such beautiful captured moments in chronological order as pieces of his life to make sense of what it means. Although, he eventually gives up compiling them chronologically as he contemplates further.
The word Koyaanisqatsi means life out of balance in the language of Hopi from northeast Arizona in America. It is an experimental film that articulates the relationship between mankind, the natural environment, and technology in a very beautiful manner. The film includes footage of the Horseshoe Canyon, the launch of Apollo 11, deserts, lakes, natural phenomena like waves and clouds, human cultivation, and human activities like coal mining, farming, plantations, skyscrapers, food, modern transportation, and so on. The film does not include any description or dialogues to enhance the visual experience of the viewers without limiting its profoundness with language.
A man is haunted by a traumatic event from his childhood, which took place in the Paris airport, years before the events of the third world war. After the war ended, the man now lives as a prisoner in the city of Paris in post-apocalyptic chaos. Due to high radioactivity, the survivors live underground in despair. The scientist carries out several experiments to send emissaries to the past and future, however, they have only managed to send dead bodies of the subjects to different time zones. Eventually, the protagonist becomes the new test subject. As the scientists explain the fate of humanity is endangered, the protagonists strong memories become the key for time travel.
A man named Alexei revisits his life experiences from childhood to adulthood, reminiscing the past. There is no conventional plotline and the adult Alexei often reveals his thoughts and emotions on various subjects. Alexei revisits his childhood, his memories of his mother, and his siblings during the pre-war era. He remembers series of arguments with his ex-wife Natalia from the post-war time, while also remembers rifle training as a youth during the war-infested times. The scenes swiftly shift between different time zones as Alexeis memories jump between pre-war, post-war, and wartime like a random train of memories in a non-chronological fashion.
A woman picks up a flower and notices another person on her way home. She comes home and falls asleep on a chair next to a window placing the flower on her lap. In her sleep, she dreams of a mysterious person with a mirror for a face, holding a flower similar to the one that she picked up on her way. The woman chases the mysterious person on the same ally and re-enters her house. She notices some misplaced objects in the house and finds herself sleeping on a chair. She finds herself chasing the mirror-faced person again and again and re-enters her house several times as her dream continues to get more surreal.
On February 4 1983, Karen Carpenters mother discovers Karens dead body inside a closet. In a flashback, during the year 1966, Karen begins her career as a singer along with her older brother Richard. Her initial success and one of the major turning points in her career was signing with the record label A&M in 1969. Her musical endeavors went on along with the struggles in her personal life. She marries Thomas Burris but the relationship falls apart after a year or so. Karen also struggles with anorexia nervosa and desperately searches for a treatment for the disorder.
In a beautiful and luxurious baroque hotel, a large group of wealthy people watch a live show and begin socializing with one another. Later, a man approaches a woman saying they meet last year at Marienbad and that they became lovers after that. However, the woman says that she has never the man before, and perhaps he has mistaken her for someone else. He insists they know each other giving several accounts and even provides some evidentiary support of their meetings. The woman, however, refutes his claims and stands firm on her statement. Meanwhile, a second man continues to beat him in a game of Nim.
A young man goes through an existential crisis fed up with his mundane existence. There are intense philosophical talks on various topics like language, art, existentialism, free will, metaphysics, the concept of reality, society, etc. Elsewhere, a couple has a deep discussion on lucid dreaming, the concept of reincarnation, and collective memory. The notion of free will gets cut open and analyzed with a thorough mind. Initially passive, the young man begins to actively participate in the discussions with others after a quiet woman approaches him. He soon realizes he is living inside a never-ending dream loop as despair begins to set inside, he is yet to understand more.
A man sharpens his razors on his balcony while smoking during a full moon night. He ponders for a moment looking at the moon and then takes the blade close to a womans face as if to cut open her eyes, as the woman nonchalantly gazes on. Later, a man is cycling on an empty road and suddenly falls. A woman looks at him from her house and comes down to him showering him with kisses. The surreal imagery of the film evokes a sense of disturbance, intimacy, and violation, while also hinting at the burden of lust or primal desires.
The life of the revered 18th-century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova. Portraying events in the life of the artist from childhood up to his death, the movie addresses in particular his relationships with women, including his muse. The production tells Sayat-Nova's dramatic story by using both his poems and largely still camerawork, creating a work hailed as revolutionary by Mikhail Vartanov.
On a winter's day, a woman stretches near a window then sits in a bathtub of water. She's happy. Her lover is nearby; there are close ups of her face, her pregnant belly, and his hands caressing her. She gives birth: we see the crowning of the baby's head, then the birth itself; we watch a pair of hands tie off and cut the umbilical cord. With the help of the attending hands, the mother expels the placenta. The infant, a baby girl, nurses. We return from time to time to the bath scene. By the end, dad's excited; mother and daughter rest.
A woman lies on the sand, left there by the tides and waves (and in a pose that would be copied in From Here to Eternity). She reaches up across tree roots and makes a difficult climb. Only to discover herself climbing horizontally along a long dinner table as bourgeoise black-tie guests chat and drink and smoke, oblivious to her. At the top of the table, a man is playing chess but abandons the game. Fascinated, she gazes at board, the pieces moving unaided. The woman chases a pawn as it falls to the floor. Falls down a waterfall. Is lost.
Henry, a young guy resides in an apartment which has not-so-good vibes and is melancholic to some extent. After having a fling with a girl named Mary, he receives unexpected news of Mary being pregnant. This incident turns his life turtle. He marries Mary and starts living with her in his shabby apartment. His baby turns out to be completely odd and eerie as it is weird in shape and resembles a lizard. Moreover, it has a peculiar habit of crying without any stops. His life becomes madly difficult and to add more to his misery, he has to also deal with a strange old lady, who lives inside a radiator. How unexpected parenthood hits an unprepared young guy is what the movie covers.
A French marquis wanders through a vast labyrinth of corridors, theaters and ballrooms at a reception for a Persian ambassador.
Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government.
Told in four episodes, an unnamed artist is transported through a mirror into another dimension, where he travels through various bizarre scenarios. This film is the first part of Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy, which consists of The Blood of a Poet (1930), Orpheus (1950) and Testament of Orpheus (1960).
Premiered as an intermission for the Swedish ballet production Relâche at the theater of Champs Elysées in Paris.
A man takes a job at an asylum with hopes of freeing his imprisoned wife.
Oscar, a young American drug dealer and addict lives with his sister in Tokyo. He is killed after violent strife with the police. His soul travels in a psychedelic journey throughout time in chronological order. From his parents' death to the present during his autopsy, and into the future, to observing his sister whom he dearly loves, he lives through it beyond life. The kaleidoscopic visions of a fantastic trip, the film navigates through the brain-bending world of the obscure.
The film consists of a series of tightly interlinked vignettes, the most sustained of which details the story of a man and a woman who are passionately in love. Their attempts to consummate their passion are constantly thwarted, by their families, by the Church and bourgeois society in general.
Against a plain, unchanging blue screen, a densely interwoven soundtrack of voices, sound effects and music attempt to convey a portrait of Derek Jarman's experiences with AIDS, both literally and allegorically, together with an exploration of the meanings associated with the colour blue.
The film's soundtrack is an original musical composition produced with synthetic sound - through photographing unusual geometric shapes and running them through an optical sound head. The images are an artistic rendering of this soundtrack.
Fireworks revolves around a young man (played by Anger himself) associating with various navy sailors, who eventually turn on him, stripping him naked and beating him to death, ripping open his chest to find a clock ticking inside. Several fireworks then explode, accompanied by a burning Christmas tree and the final shot shows the young man lying in bed next to another topless man.
A premonition of a horror film, lurking danger: A house - at night, slightly tilted in the camera's view, eerily lit - surfaces from the pitch black, then sinks back into it again. A young woman begins to move slowly towards the building. She enters it. The film cuts crackle, the sound track grates, suppressed, smothered. Found footage from Hollywood forms the basis for the film. The figure who creeps through the images, who is thrown around by them and who attacks them is Barbara Hershey. Tscherkassky's dramatic frame by frame re-cycling, re-copying and new exposure of the material, folds the images and the rooms into each other. It removes the ground from under the viewer's feet and splits faces, like in a bad dream. From the off, from outer space, foreign bodies penetrate the images and cause the montage to become panic stricken. The outer edges of the film image, the empty perforations and the skeletons of the optical sound track rehearse an invasion...
Obsessed with a general's woman, a clergyman has strange visions of death and lust, struggling against his own eroticism.
A Japanese fairy tale meets commedia dell'Arte. All in white, the naïf Pierrot lies in a wood. Doo-wop music plays as he rises, stares about, and reaches for the moon. Although music abounds and the children of the wood are there at play, Pierrot is melancholy and alone. Harlequin appears, brimming with confidence and energy. He conjures the lovely Colombina. Pierrot is dazzled. But can the course of true love run smooth?
"The Hart of London" is an endlessly layered tour de force. It explores life and death, the sense of place and personal displacement, and the intricate aesthetics of representation. It is a personal and spiritual film, marked inevitably by Chambers’s knowledge that he had leukemia. The late American avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage said of Hart, "If I named the five greatest films [ever made], this has got to be one of them." Even this high praise falls short of hyperbole. The Hart of London is at the centre of Chambers’s extraordinary achievement.
Ballet Mécanique (1923-4) is a Dadaist post-Cubist art film conceived, written, and co-directed by the artist Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy (with cinematographic input from Man Ray). It has a musical score by the American composer George Antheil. However, the film premiered in silent version on 24 September 1924 at the Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik (International Exposition for New Theater Technique) in Vienna presented by Frederick Kiesler. It is considered one of the masterpieces of early experimental filmmaking.
Bruce Conner’s most celebrated film for a reason: it takes historical moments that were replayed over and over on television—chilling repetition of Kennedy assassination coverage—and repurposes them into a meditation on how the media tries to exert authority and apply a sense of order to the anarchic. And though it may sound perverse to say so, the film is also—not incidentally—a thrill to watch. -- The A.V. Club
Seemingly at random, the wings and other bits of moths and insects move rapidly across the screen. Most are brown or sepia; up close, we can see patterns within wings, similar to the veins in a leaf. Sometimes the images look like paper cutouts, like Matisse. Green objects occasionally appear. Most wings are translucent. The technique makes them appear to be stuck directly to the film.
Starting with a piece of vintage porn, filmmaker Naomi Uman painstakingly removed each female figure from the footage using nail polish remover, leaving a striking absence where there's usually a fleshy presence. Uman's celebrated film is a smart retort to pornography's obsessive gaze at the female body.
Wochende (Weekend), 1930, is an experimental movie, directed by Walter Ruttmann, produced in Germany. Walter Ruttmann made avant-garde films - the Opus series, from 1922 to 1925, and a major documentary Berlin, Symphony of a City in 1929, showing the city's activities from early morning to midnight. Interested in how spectators perceive sound, on 15 May 1930 he premiered a film without pictures, Wochenende (Weekend). The audience take their seats, the lights go out, the sound is heard and all that can be seen is a BLANK screen !
Short film about a spiral design spins dizzily. It's replaced by a spinning disk. These two continue in perfect alternation until the end: a spiral design, a disk. Each disk is labelled and can be read as it rotates. The messages, in French, feature puns and whimsical rhymes and alliteration. The final message comments on the spiral motif itself.
Lacking a formal narrative, Warhol's mammoth film follows various residents of the Chelsea Hotel in 1966 New York City. The film was intended to be screened via dual projector set-up.
"It's a simple subject. A married woman and a single man meet. They love each other, fight, blows rain down. A dog wanders between town and countryside. Seasons pass. The man and woman get back together. The dog comes between them. The other is in one of them. One of them is in the other. And then there are three people. The ex-husband makes everything explode. A second film begins. The same as the first. And yet, not. From the human species, we move on to metaphor. It will end in barking. And a baby's cries." JLG
Begotten is the creation myth brought to life, the story of no less than the violent death of God and the (re)birth of nature on a barren earth.
Cornell employs clips from 1931's jungle melodrama East of Borneo- more specifically, clips of its lead actress, Rose Hobart- to disquieting effect. Through Cornell's collage editing, Hobart becomes a singular object of desire and dread, trapped in an exotic paradise.
Serene Velocity stares down the center of an empty institutional hallway while shifting the focal length of a stationary zoom lens, transforming the basement corridor into a nexus of visual and conceptual energy.
Wavelength consists of almost no action, and what action does occur is largely elided. If the film could be said to have a conventional plot, this would presumably refer to the three “character” scenes. In the first scene two people enter a room, chat briefly, and listen to “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the radio. Later, a man (played by filmmaker Hollis Frampton) enters inexplicably and dies on the floor. And last, the female owner of the apartment is heard and seen on the phone, speaking, with strange calm, about the dead man in her apartment whom she has never seen before.
The narration and intertitles describe the ultimate teenage fantasy road-trip: a female version of Bonnie and Clyde in love, in trouble, and unstoppable. With dreams of freedom, a life of crime, and the glamour of Hollywood, the film depicts the ultimate wish list of the lesbian bad girl whose life is not only constrained by school and parents, but also by the fear of a world that cannot tolerate her difference.
Filmmaker and artist Jack Smith described his own film as a “comedy set in a haunted movie studio.” Flaming Creatures begins humorously enough with several men and women, mostly of indeterminate gender, vamping it up in front of the camera and participating in a mock advertisement for an indelible, heart-shaped brand of lipstick. However, things take a dark, nightmarish turn when a transvestite chases, catches and begins molesting a woman. Soon, all of the titular “creatures” participate in a (mostly clothed) orgy that causes a massive earthquake. After the creatures are killed in the resulting chaos, a vampire dressed like an old Hollywood starlet rises from her coffin to resurrect the dead. All ends happily enough when the now undead creatures dance with each other, even though another orgy and earthquake loom over the end title card.