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The March of the Machines (1927)

La marche des machines (original title)

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(as Eugene Deslav)
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1927 (France)  »

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The March of the Machines  »

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1.33 : 1
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Engaging patterns of movement but not as good as the other films currently on display at MoMA
21 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Currently this film is on display in MoMA Manhattan where it is part of a room of other works all of which are based on the art within machinery and some degree of automation, whether it be in sketches, paintings or films such as this one. Of those in the room I think this was my least favorite but it still works for what it is. This film takes the same approach as the others in terms of concept and it is about the appreciation of the movement of machines. Unlike Mechanical Principles (also on display) this film sits back off the machines to look at the more general function of them – not the complete system but not the tiniest of detail either.

In a way this works because there is a simple pleasure in watching things work but on the other hand some of the shots selected are almost too broad so there isn't the detail so much as just seeing something move. In terms of the films on display I felt that this one fell between Mechanical Principles and De Brug because the former really gets beauty from the detail while the latter steps far enough back to appreciate the scale and reality of a machine. March of the Machines was still an engaging art film because the repeating patterns of movement make for an effective installation, but it would be my third choice of those at MoMA right now.


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