6.4/10
311
2 user 4 critic

Thanatopsis (1962)

| Short
Introducing some innovative film techniques, Emshwiller won a Special Award at the Brussels Experimental Film Festival for this expression of internal anguish. He described the film as "The... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Short | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The home movie footage that caught the assassination of the American President, John F. Kennedy.

Director: Abraham Zapruder
Stars: Charles Brehm, Howard Brennan, John Connally
Now (1965)
Documentary | Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A documentary short about racism in the United States

Director: Santiago Álvarez
Stars: Lena Horne
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A chemist carries out a bizarre experiment with his own head.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Free Radicals (1958)
Animation | Short | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Display the graph that follows traditional African music's voice strains of sway, between music and graphics so mix and so gave the impression of beauty in the melting pot of musical art and graphics.

Director: Len Lye
Rainbow Dance (1936)
Short | Musical | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The film was made by colorful printing of footage combined with drawing directly on film. The bouncy music drives home the message heard at the end of the film, promoting the GPO (General ... See full summary »

Director: Len Lye
Stars: Rupert Doone
Trade Tattoo (1937)
Short | Animation | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Abstract animation drawn directly on Technicolor film, some with underlying real life footage of unrelated subjects. Various colorful shapes and patterns move and interact, set to upbeat music.

Director: Len Lye
Dots (1940)
Short | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An experimental film of dots animated by being drawn directly on filmstock.

Director: Norman McLaren
Devo: Mongoloid (Video 1978)
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society. Insightful editing techniques reveal the dreams... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Conner
Short | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The leader of a marching band demonstrates an unusual way of writing music.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Certificate: Passed Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent
Tarantella (1940)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Abstract animation illustrates Edwin Gerschefski's modernist composition. Two dots - one blue and one orange - appear most often, sometimes large, sometimes small, sometimes overlapping. ... See full summary »

Directors: Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth
Jam Session (1942)
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Duke Ellington and Orchestra perform 'C Jam Blues'.

Director: Josef Berne
Stars: Duke Ellington, Ray Nance, Rex Stewart
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Becky Arnold
Mac Emshwiller
Edit

Storyline

Introducing some innovative film techniques, Emshwiller won a Special Award at the Brussels Experimental Film Festival for this expression of internal anguish. He described the film as "The confrontation of a man and his torment. Juxtaposed against his external composure are images of a woman and lights in distortion, with tension heightened by the sounds of power saws and a heartbeat." Written by Bhob Stewart <bhob2@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

heartbeat | experimental film | See All (2) »

Genres:

Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Meditation on death
3 September 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Particularly after the dull 'George Dumpson's Place (1964),' Ed Emshwiller's 'Thanatopsis (1962)' took me completely by surprise. An intense soundtrack of industrial machinery and heartbeat – a chilling construction of sound editing that predates Lynch's 'Eraserhead (1977)' – highlights Emshwiller's exploration of a brooding man's psychosis. The director himself described the film as follows: "The confrontation of a man and his torment. Juxtaposed against his external composure are images of a woman and lights in distortion, with tension heightened by the sounds of power saws and a heartbeat." More specifically, I was left with the impression that Emshwiller was drawing the portrait of a serial killer's mind (the title itself, derived from Greek, literally means "meditation on death"). The man (Mac Emshwiller) sits alone in a dark room, rational reality fluctuating around him. A mysterious woman (Becky Arnold), gleaming in white, dances around the room, but so hideously distorted is her form that she more closely resembles a demon, twisting and writhing in apparent agony, her pain placing evil thoughts in the man's mind. Sex and violence merge into a singularly disturbing image of obsession and inner torment. The film ends with the indistinct silhouette of the man walking through a city, the distorted neon lights representing his warped and fractured view of reality – a chilling reminder that men like this are stalking our streets all the time.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page