Sunday, December 4, 2011

Avant-Garde: The Silents ("Fixing a Hole")


A new month, a new theme for "Fixing a Hole". The year ends with the avant-garde, and today I've tapped Maurizio Roca, whose noir countdown was one of the highlights of 2011, to address three of his favorite avant-garde films of the 1920s. I added the pictures and videos. Maurizio writes about Entr'acte, Emak-Bakia, and Ghosts Before Breakfast here:


"Opening with a startling close-up of a man looking through a movie camera, we are quickly led to a barrage of abstract and animated images (some taken from the earlier Le Retour a la Raison) that instantly plunge us into a world of bewilderment. A similar tact was taken by Clair’s Entr’acte, when after a relatively docile opening, the filmmaker quickly pulled out the rug from under us with a swift journey into abstraction. Emak Bakia (at least in the Kino version) is greatly aided by the mournful string-heavy score that accompanies it. Early on, the visual focus, like Entr’acte, is centered primarily on slow-motion movement. We are given the various traits that make up film art and watch as they are applied in nonlinear and unconventional ways. The concentration always seems to be simply about reveling in this new medium’s impressionistic possibilities above all else. Where the dancer was the underlying image of movement that Clair returned to early in his short, Ray instead decides to devote his time with distorted depictions of artifacts we cannot make out clearly. They come and go with no established delineation other than to reveal the ability to gracefully move before our eyes."

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