6.8/10
2,105
15 user 6 critic

Ballet mécanique (1924)

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »

Writer:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Entr'acte (1924)
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An absolute dada movie. Somebody gets killed, his coffin gets out of control and after a chase it stops. The person gets out of it and let everybody who followed the coffin dissapear.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Jean Börlin, Inge Frïss, Francis Picabia
Anemic Cinema (1926)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel Duchamp
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Experimental film, white specks and shapes gyrating over a black background, a light-striped torso, a gyrating eggcrate. One of the first Dadaist films.

Director: Man Ray
Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Hans Richter, noted for his abstract shorts, has everyday objects rebelling against their daily routine.

Director: Hans Richter
Stars: Werner Graeff, Walter Gronostay, Paul Hindemith
Animation | Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Viking Eggeling
Emak-Bakia (1927)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Man Ray
Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse, Jacques Rigaut
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead),... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich
Stars: Jules Raucourt, Voya George, Robert Florey
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Obsessed with a general's woman, a clergyman has strange visions of death and lust, struggling against his own eroticism.

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Alex Allin, Genica Athanasiou, Lucien Bataille
Rhythmus 21 (1923)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »

Director: Hans Richter
Short | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, "Adieu." Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in ... See full summary »

Director: Man Ray
Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse, André de la Rivière, Robert Desnos
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Concerns a scientist's flight into outer space.

Directors: Walerian Borowczyk, Chris Marker
Stars: Michel Boschet, Ligia Branice, Anatole Dauman
Filmstudie (1926)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Entertaining Dadaist experimental short, similar to Man Ray's work, full of shifting geometric shapes, stock footage of seagulls, flying eyeballs, and glaring floating heads.

Director: Hans Richter
Stars: Stella F. Simon
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Fernand Léger
Dudley Murphy
Katherine Murphy
Katrin Murphy ...
Girl with a flower
Edit

Storyline

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, kitchen objects in concentric circles or rows - pots, pan lids, and funnels, cars passing overhead, a spinning carnival ride. Over and over, a heavy-set woman climbs stairs carrying a large bag on her shoulder. An Art Deco cartoon figure appears, dancing. This is a world in motion, dominated by mechanical and repetitive images, with a few moments of solitude in a garden. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

24 September 1924 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Balet mechaniczny  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Kiesler)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

George Antheil wrote the score for this film, but due to various disagreements - including that Antheil's original version of the music ran 30 minutes while the film was only 16 minutes - the film was premiered without the original music. The film and music were first shown together on 25 August 2000 in Antwerp, Belgium, at the Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderen. The film print with music was created by Paul Lehrman. See more »


Soundtracks

Ballet Mecanique
by George Antheil
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The First Avant Garde?
1 May 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Ballet mecanique (1924)

*** (out of 4)

This short is often considered one of the earliest examples of real avant garde filmmaking. It's worth noting that the film is available in the UNSEEN CINEMA collection and that the production notes for this film say that the score that was written for it in 1924 was so difficult that it couldn't be performed at all. In fact, according to the notes, the score wasn't able to be completed until the late 90s when technology was good enough to try and capture the various moods and notes going on with the score. The "visuals" include a wide range of stuff from film clips to puppets to some stop-motion animation. There's no real "story" to talk about, instead we're just given various images that play well against the score as the film moves along both the images and that score grow faster and more intense. You never really know how one might take these avant garde films because many will view them as nothing more than a complete mess and while I think that can often be the case, in special cases, like this one, you can tell there's some passion and effort going into the production. I'm not going to sit here and say that a deep meaning jumped out at me but I did enjoy the experimental music and many of the visuals in front of me. The stuff with the puppet was probably my favorite but I think I'd recommend this film to those who enjoy strange music. The music is certainly the main ingredient here and it's an interesting mix that really adds to the overall experience.


1 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?