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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Richter was predating his efforts to become the first

7/10
Author: georg renken (rengeo@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
12 March 2002

A lot of misleading facts, most of them spread by Richter himself are surrounding this film as well as the subsequent Rhythmus 23. I've tried to sort them out: The first public screening was held on July 6th 1923 in France. The opening title 'Un film de Hans Richter' which still can be seen on surviving prints may have been for years the only title the film had. The first public screening held in Germany occurred on May 10th 1925. This time it's been called 'Film ist Rhythmus', but probably only in Ads. By then the film was roughly two minutes long. Over the next two years Richter must have worked on the film and extended it to almost seven minutes. Eventually before October 16th 1927 when the film(s) was(were) screened at the Film Society in London, he must have split it up and later on called it Rhythmus 21 and Rhythmus 23. By calling them Rhythmus 21 respectively 23 he apparently insinuated 21 meaning 'made in 1921'.He thereby tried to predate Walther Ruttmann who on April 27th 1921 screened the first 'absolut' film.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Shapes

5/10
Author: ackstasis from Australia
4 February 2009

Hans Richter's 'Rhythmus 21 (1921)' has modest enough aspirations, and I suppose it's fair to say that it fulfills them adequately. As far as "geometric shapes increasing and decreasing in size" cinema goes, this is a vaguely interesting short film that takes a simple concept and does simple things with it. Though ostensibly exploring rhythm through geometry, 'Rhythmus 21' is more interesting in terms of illusory three-dimensional depth, with each shape's status as a foreground or background object seemingly changing as its actual size changes. Though I can't recommend this avant-garde short as being especially inspiring or insightful, the aesthetically-pleasing visuals make for a worthwhile enough three minutes.

'Rhythmus 21' is also quite different from the three other works I've thus far seen from Hans Richter. 'Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928),' 'Inflation (1928)' and 'Race Symphony (1928)' were live-action short films that put the technique of Soviet montage to good use, and nobody can deny that Richter had a superb eye for editing. The abstract animation of this effort is not technically notable, but nonetheless signalled the arrival of a new wave of avant-garde film-making in the 1920s. Richter would soon be joined by the likes of Man Ray, Walter Ruttmann and Viking Eggeling {in fact, Ruttmann probably got there first with 'Opus I (1921)'}. I wonder what 'Rhythmus 23 (1923)' has in store for me!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Depth more than time

7/10
Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
23 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Film is rhythm." Hans Richter makes said point with a simple animation involving variously growing and shrinking white squares and rectangles. He did well... this film is very rhythmic. It's like one of those mesmerizing screen-savers, only developed with particular attention to abstract form.

Still, I think one of the more interesting aspects of "Rhythmus 21" is what it ends up stating about the illusion of depth than about rhythm. All of the various ascending and receding shapes look more like they're blocks of set sizes moving forwards and backwards than shapes growing or shrinking in actual size. In other words, they provide a very different effect than what they ARE, which is something to be noted in a film made entirely out of black and white blocks of light.

Indeed, "Rhythmus 21" more comments on how something as plain as putting one block in front of the other makes the human mind assume a foreground/background relationship between the two shapes than it does delight with its rhythmic structure. Again it should be noted that experimental films aren't always successful, and some experiments are successful for reasons outside the point the experimenter is trying to get at.

--PolarisDiB

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hypnotic, meditative

7/10
Author: Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki from United States
31 May 2014

White boxes moving to the sides, like opening doors to a lift (or is it a black line which gets thicker, until it occupies the full frame?) opens this Dada short film, where the movements of white squares and white rectangles against a deep black background takes up two thirds of its brief run time. Then comes the final minute, when another white square enlarges to fill the frame completely, and black squares and various black geometrical shapes dance against a plain white square, all in complete silence, with absolutely no music score to accompany it.

Hypnotic, yet pointless, also meditative; it is calming to me to watch Richter's experimental work, and see the first time movement was even implied on film.

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It's an experimental film...so what do you expect?!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
5 April 2014

This is a short film by Hans Richter--one of the very first experimental film makers. It is not meant to appeal to the masses but is simply an experiment by Richter. It consists of black and white shapes moving about the screen and has a definite cubist look to it. I see it as an interesting attempt by the artist to redefine what film is--in this case it's not intended to entertain but appears to be an attempt to expand what can CAN be. Because of this, I cannot assign this one a numerical score or say whether it's good or bad...it just is what it is. I wonder how the film would feel if it had an accompanying musical score (something you wouldn't have had when Richter made the film in the 1920s). More watchable than most art films but not something most folks would want to watch every day!

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FILM IS RHYTHM {Short} (Hans Richter, 1921) **

4/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
15 January 2014

This 3-minute "Avant-Garde" short is perhaps the single most inconsequential of the lot. Originally named RHYTHMUS 21 and the seventh of its ilk I had watched in one afternoon (with another to follow, capped by a feature-length film in the same vein!), I jokingly began to refer to it as "Litmus Test"!!

What we get here, basically, is a succession of shapes (rectangles, to be exact), photographed in a way that they move about and 'through' the screen, their zooming in and out suggesting the depth of the frame. One can only surmise that the original intention was to experiment (literally, play around) with the medium…and, if anything (as with a number of these efforts, in fact), a lot depends on the soundtrack chosen to accompany the visuals. In the end, it is safe to assume that I spent more time writing about the movie than actually experiencing it!!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

3 minutes of geometry

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
4 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Rhythmus 21" is the first work by German animation film pioneer Hans Richter. It is silent (don't be fooled by soundtracks that were added later) and black-and-white. From start to finish, we see geometric shapes moving inside and out of the screen. I must say by today's standards, it is pretty bad, but we have to keep in mind that this one is almost 100 years old, which is why I am a bit more generous with my rating. Still, there were films, especially from America, at this point already that left much more of an impact, also told a story. "Rhythmus 21" is a movie that even animation addicts or film historians only need to see once and everybody else can skip it altogether. Really glad this only runs for 3 minutes, because, even at this low runtime, it already started to drag. Not recommended and I cannot say this got me interested in the sequels.

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