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 »
Kiki of Montparnasse,
André de la Rivière,
Set during the occupation of Poland during World War II. Some German soldiers, slaughter a woman, her son and daughter-in-law. The husband and his father escape by being in the forest. The ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
The life of a great city (Paris) from dawn until dusk, including the beautiful and the ragged, the rich and the poor, with little or no comment (intertitles) from the director, Cavalcanti (whose first film this was).
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 »
Psychological narrative avantgarde film about a wealthy young businessman who consecutively falls in love with a classy English woman (Pearl), a Russian sculptress (Athalia), and a naive ... See full summary »
A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
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 »
Interesting, but I'm still not really sure what to make of it
This is one of the earliest surrealist films, predating the more notorious "Un chien andalou" by a year. The main reason I decided to check it out was because of the involvement of Antonion Artaud, my favorite member of the original surrealist group (despite being kicked out later). He wrote the screenplay, and many of his running themes appear. There's fall from grace, fear of sex, and the entwining of fantasy and reality to the point the audience is unable to tell one from the other and becomes "involved" with the on-screen action. The film itself plays like a half remembered dream, and if you're unfamiliar with the work of Artaud, it'll likely not make too much sense. I count him as one of my favorite writers, but I'm still not too sure what to make of this project (apparently he was extremely dissatisfied with the final result).
If anything, I enjoyed watching it, as it features a great dreamlike atmosphere in the way only silent films can project. There's a lot of nice and charmingly primitive camera tricks on display here. If you enjoy the effects work of Jean Cocteau (coincidentally, my second favorite surrealist after Artaud), you'll find plenty here to be hypnotized by. The direction by Germaine Dulac keeps the atmosphere level high. Like the best surrealist work, the images don't work by any conventional logic, but achieve a sub conscience level where they work on their own - they don't make sense, but the viewer is convinced there is deeper meaning nonetheless. Artaud considered this a failure, and to be honest it is moderately disappointing, because I'd think any film revolving around his themes would be a masterpiece. Still, its interesting and worth seeking out. (8/10)
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