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Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

 -  Animation
5.8
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Title: Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

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using a baby as tennis ball
20 December 2009 | by (belgium) – See all my reviews

I had heard many great things about Harry Smith's Heaven and Earth Magic, but I never saw it. to be correct, I actually did saw a few parts of it, but I never liked it. it has got that kind of style that needs to be appreciated, and because I do not get very much excited by moving paintings, the works of Mister Smith never appealed to me. let's be honest if we can: this is no ordinary movie, but it's no animation film either. it's something in between, something that only exists in it's sole existence. having said that, I hope it's clear I don't like Heaven and Earth Magic. it's too strange for me. there seems to be no story whatsoever, except for a collection of rather sketches than story lines. I love the works of Stan Brakhage, even though they have no storyline neither. but Brakhage's movies are to be seen as random art, Harry Smith's movies however have nothing to do with art. they tell us nothing. but I believe you can give anything a reason of existence, even the films made by Harry Smith (not to be confused with Jack Smith, the godfather of the New York underground experimental gay cinema). Here, you can see many things relate to life and death, hence the strange title. Smith plays with confusion and depth, thereby creating original novelties on the screen. mutilation becomes art, and art becomes reformed, destroying the original being and furthermore changing in another lifestyle. however,if you have never seen a Harry Smith film, these words can't mean anything for you. Harry Smith needs to be viewed many times, his creations and demolition are too strange to understand with a first viewing. I'm a big fan of experimental short films with no sound, but this is silly. the only sound we hear, are coming from animals and things that distract us. Harry Smith uses these sounds to make his collage of life even more absurd. at a certain point, he uses a machine to play tennis with a baby as tennis ball. original, yes, but do we want to see this? no. it's quite boring, playing with life and death in a fictional concept. one thing is sure, of course, once you've seen this movie, you will never forget it.


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