6.7/10
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16 user 6 critic

Ballet mécanique (1924)

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »

Directors:

Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy (uncredited)

Writer:

Fernand Léger
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Kiki of Montparnasse Kiki of Montparnasse ... Smiling girl (uncredited)
Fernand Léger Fernand Léger ... (uncredited)
Dudley Murphy ... (uncredited)
Katherine Murphy Katherine Murphy ... (uncredited)
Katrin Murphy Katrin Murphy ... Girl with a flower (uncredited)
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Storyline

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, kitchen objects in concentric circles or rows - pots, pan lids, and funnels, cars passing overhead, a spinning carnival ride. Over and over, a heavy-set woman climbs stairs carrying a large bag on her shoulder. An Art Deco cartoon figure appears, dancing. This is a world in motion, dominated by mechanical and repetitive images, with a few moments of solitude in a garden. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short

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Details

Official Sites:

DVD

Country:

France

Release Date:

24 September 1924 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Balet mechaniczny See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Synchro-Ciné See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Kiesler)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Antheil wrote the score for this film, but due to various disagreements - including that Antheil's original version of the music ran 30 minutes while the film was only 16 minutes - the film was premiered without the original music. The film and music were first shown together on 25 August 2000 in Antwerp, Belgium, at the Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderen. The film print with music was created by Paul Lehrman. See more »

Alternate Versions

There are various existing versions of this film. However, the one thought to be closest to the version premiered in Vienna in 1924 is a print found in 1975 by Lillian Kiesler, widow of Frederick Kiesler, who arranged the premiere. This version has been preserved by Anthology Film Archives of New York. See more »

Connections

Featured in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballet Mecanique
by George Antheil
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spellbinding. Terrific. Groundbreaking. I'll continue...
24 September 2000 | by clurge-2See all my reviews

1924. While everyone else is screwing with "feature" films with subtitles and storylines, along comes Ballet Mecanique. A fifteen minute experimental masterpiece, that walks the fine line of boredom/pointlessness and excitement/entertainment. This particular film was showing in the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, and was a visual treat playing in the same section as the Picaso.

Leger and Murphy used magic and early optical illusions, such as looping segments and split screens. The repetitive movements of the steel machines, match those of the live action people doing work, or even the comical puppet like figure that dances across the screen to create a mechanical ballet. Be it mechanical movements of humans, or mechanical movements of machines. Something tells me I should make a parallel between the man-machine imagery and the 70's electronic German godfathers, Kraftwerk. It's the Europeans I tell ya...they bring us all the best art as entertainment. Every image, from the smiling girl, to the numbered cards all serve a purpose in the grande scheme of Ballet Mecanique.

I really encourage anybody in the Toronto area, or anyone visiting Toronto, to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out Ballet Mecanique. It's on a continual loop. I could have stayed watching it all day. Very spellbinding.


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