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An Optical Poem (1937)

 |  Animation, Short, Music
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 233 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A dance of shapes. A title card tells us this is an experiment in conveying the mental images of music in a visual form. Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" is the music. The shapes, all ... See full summary »

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Storyline

A dance of shapes. A title card tells us this is an experiment in conveying the mental images of music in a visual form. Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" is the music. The shapes, all two-dimensional, are circles primarily, with some squares and rectangles, and a few triangles. The shapes move rhythmically to the music: receding from view or moving across the screen. Red circles on a blue background; light blue squares; white rectangles. Then, a red background of many circles with a few in the foreground. Red gives way to blue then to white. Shapes reappear as Liszt's themes re-occur. Then, with a few staccato notes and images, it's over. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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geometric form | See All (1) »

Genres:

Animation | Short | Music

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Prologue (Title): To most of us, music suggests definite mental images of form and color. The picture you are about to see is a novel scientific experiment. Its object is to convey these mental images in visual form.
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Soundtracks

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Music by Franz Liszt
Played throughout the entire picture
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User Reviews

Very strange but well worth seeing.
30 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is from a collection of art films entitled "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941". Unlike most of the other films in this set, this one is from a major studio--MGM. Somehow Oskar Fischinger was able to convince the MGM folks to sponsor this art film that consists of hundreds of paper cut-outs that are hung from invisible wires and which are shot, one frame at a time---all in synchronization with music from Franz Liszt. It's all in color and it's amazing that such a non-commercial sort of project was funded by this or any studio.

While it's not at all fun, it is an amazing film to watch. Not only is it wonderfully synchronized, but works so very well. It's all very hypnotic and amazing--even when you see it today. It must have taken forever practically to make this--and perhaps this is why this is Fischinger's only film. Strange but well worth seeing.


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