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Emak-Bakia (1927)

 |  Short  |  6 March 1927 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 746 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 3 critic

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 »

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Title: Emak-Bakia (1927)

Emak-Bakia (1927) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kiki of Montparnasse ...
Girl with painted eyes
Jacques Rigaut
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Storyline

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 drives along country roads. Farm animals. She descends from the car, again and again. Images: dancing legs, seashore, swimming fish, geometric shapes, cut glass. A man removes his starched collar. It rotates. A girl has garishly painted eyes. No, she's only fooling. Those were her eyelids. Written by David Carless

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6 March 1927 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the movie - a very short soundless abstract piece - was first exhibited, a man in the audience stood up and complained it was giving him a headache. Another man told him to shut up, and they both started to fight. They left the theater fighting and the police was called in to stop the fight. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Search for Emak Bakia (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Less concise
20 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Consisting of a lot of the spinning imagery Man Ray is quite quick to associate himself with, Emak-Bakia comes off as a much less concise version of Le Retour de la Raison. Here Ray is going for a surrealist approach, which doesn't work in a few important ways.

First of all, while surrealism tends to be abstract in places, it's not this abstract. The whole idea behind surrealism is something odd accepted as real, while this is just a bunch of odd things. Secondly, there's a huge disjunct between the fractured narrative and the exploration of spinning, warped lights and patterns. A huge difficulty here is that Ray says that's the point. If you fail, but tried to fail, does that mean you've succeeded? What this film really needs is to decide which way to go: less abstract or more abstract? I'd lean towards more abstract, because what's really appealing about the imagery Ray uses is his love of revolving light. It's in these moments that the short film is relaxed and sweet to watch, and where multiple viewings are appealing.

Also nice is the repeated imagery of eyes, always something self-reflexive in avant-garde cinema. If anything, it's those more "concrete" parts that fit with the more abstract things.

--PolarisDiB


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