Introduction To Film

Introduction To Film
Maya Deren

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Assignment, Research Paper

Experimental Film

Fall 2011

Research Paper Assignment.

In order to create a context for criticizing and considering Avante Garde and experimental films it is necessary to look at what has been written about the genres.

These two readings represent two different yet related points of view regarding experimental films. P. Adams Sitney “wrote the book” on experimental film when he updated his 1994 book Visionary Film in 2002. In it, he addresses the history of Experimental film thematically with chapter references like “Ritual and Nature” or “From Trance to Myth”. Paul Arthur’s book Line of Sight American Avante Garde Film Since 1965 came out in 2005 and represents an update on Sitneys book with a slightly different take. It presumes an aquantance with the canon or most well known of experimental films and film makers and it focuses primarily on American film makers. It also picks up on a younger generation of film makers whos work has carried into the present and includes in some cases video-based work as well.

The first chapter of Visionary Film gives a clear idea of how Sitney proceeds to compare and contrast different films and themes. The Introduction to Paul Arthurs Line of Sight puts forth his overview and method for considering the genre.

After reading both of these excerpts You will write a 4-6 page comparison of two films from the ones of which we have seen in class. Your comparison should also refer to a film we have not seen as a group but it must be on the list below so that it is available for viewing by others in the class. You are expected to view the films and write a comparison and contrast style paper the makes reference to the images and content of the two films. You may reference other films but please make citations when you do. Other non- film references are also encouraged as you put the films in the context of your own work and ideas.

This comparison paper will be due November4th. It should include references and citations if you use quotes and follow the quidelines for research papers that are posted in the writing center.

In some cases films are available on YouTube. I suggest you see the DVD versions since there is a chance that the YouTube versions have been altered. I Also have 16mm prints of Frank Film by Frank Mouris, Blinkety Blank by Norman MacLaren, Allures by the Whitney brothers, and Permutations by Jordan Belson

Films we have seen in class;

Meshes in the Afternoon, Deren

Un Chien Andalou, Bunuel

Fog of Autumn by Dimitri Kirsanoff

A Movie by Bruce Conner

1966 film by Bruce Conner

Dog Star Man by Stan Brackage

Films which are available for viewing either in the library or in the film lab.

Available Films include:

"Here I Am" (Bruce Baillie), "Aleph" (Wallace Berman),

"The Riddle of Lumen" (Stan Brakhage),

"Eyewash" (Robert Breer),

"Bridges-Go-Round" (Shirley Clarke),

"By Night with Torch and Spear" (Joseph Cornell),

"Peyote Queen" (Storm De Hirsch),

"(nostalgia" (Hollis Frampton),

"Fog Line" (Larry Gottheim), "Litlte Stabs at Happiness" (Ken Jacobs), "Hamfat Asar" (Lawrence Jordan),

"I, an Actress (George Kuchar),

"New Improved Institutional Quality" (Owen Land),

"Necrology" (Standish Lawder),

"Note to Patti" (Saul Levine), Note;Saul Levine is teaching at Mass Art and programs the Mass Art Film Society on Wednesday nights.

"The End" (Christopher Maclaine),

"Notes on the Circus" (Jonas Mekas),

"Go! Go! Go!" (Marie Menken),

"The Off-Handed Jape... and How to Pull It Off" (Robert Nelson & William T. Wiley),

"7362" (Pat O'Neill),

"Chumlum" (Ron Rice),

"Bad Burns" (Paul Sharits),

"Odds & Ends" (Jane Conger Belson Shimane),

"Film No. 3: Interwoven" (Chick Strand),

"Mario Banana (No. 1)" (Andy Warhol)

Listed here are some earlier films all of which do not appear in either Sitney’s of Arthur” books but nonetheless may be interesting for their comparison and contrast to the Avante Garde films from the 40’s to the year 2005

DANSE MACABRE (US 1922 Color Tinted 6 Min.) Dir: Dudley Murphy

RIEN QUE LES HEURES (Nothing But Time) (US 1926 B&W 46 Min.) Dir: Alberto Cavalcanti - Music by Larry Marotta

THE TELL-TALE HEART (US 1928 B&W 20 Min.) Dir: Charles F. Klein - Music by Sue Harshe

TARANTELLA (US 1940 Color 4 Min.) Dir: Mary Ellen Bute and Ted Nemeth

TOMATOS ANOTHER DAY (US 1930 B&W 7 Min.) Dir: James Sibley Watson

THE UNCOMFORTABLE MAN (US 1948 B&W 23 Min. Intentionally silent) (Dir: Kent Munson and Theodore Huff)

THE PETRIFIED DOG (US 1948 B&W 18 Min.) Dir: Sidney Peterson

THE LEAD SHOES (US 1949 B&W 16 Min.) Dir: Sidney Peterson

FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON (US 1951 B&W 14 Min.) Dir: James Broughton


PLAGUE SUMMER (US 1951 B&W 15 Min.) Dir: Chester Kessler

LA MORT DU CERF (The Death of a Stag) (France 1951 B&W 12 Min.) Dir: Dimitri Kirsanoff

IMAGE IN THE SNOW (US 1952 B&W 26 Min.) Dir: Willard Maas

CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT (France 1952 Color 3 Min.) Dir: John Whitney

THE VOICES (US 1953 B&W 14 Min.) Dir: John E. Schmitz

CLOSED VISION (US 1954 B&W 65 Min.) Dir: Marc O


EPISODES IN THE LIFE OF A GIN BOTTLE (US 1925 B&W 11 Min.) Dir: Bela von Block - Music by Paul Mercer, Bruce Bennett and Davis Petterson


FALLING PINK (US circa late 1950s Color 9 Min.) Dir: Robert H. Spring - Music by Paul Mercer and Bruce Bennett

DEMENTIA (excerpt) (US 1955 B&W 5 Min.) Dir: John Parker

TOMATOS ANOTHER DAY (outtakes) (US 1930 B&W 5 Min.) Dir: James Sibley Watson

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