Dedicated to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. A surrealistic fantasy based on the 15th century woodcuts of the dance of the dead. A film experiment that deals with the photoreality and the surrealism of life. It is a collage-animation that cuts up photos and newsreel film and reassembles them, producing an image that is a mixture of unexplainable fact (Why is Harpo Marx playing a harp in the middle of a battlefield?) with the inexplicable act (Why is there a battlefield?). It is a black comedy, a fantasy that mocks at death … a parabolic parable. Awards: Bell Telephone Prize; Third Experimental Film Competition, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium, 1964; Midwest Film Festival, 1964; Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1964. —film-makerscoop.com
Stan Vanderbeek (January 6, 1927 – September 19, 1984) was an American experimental filmmaker.
VanDerBeek studied art and architecture first at Cooper Union College in New York and then at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he met architect Buckminster Fuller, composer John Cage, and choreographer Merce Cunningham. VanDerBeek began his career in the 1950s making independent art film while learning animation techniques and working painting scenery and set designs for the American TV show, Winky Dink and You. His earliest films, made between 1955 and 1965 mostly consist of animated paintings and collages, combined in a form of organic development.
VanDerBeek’s ironic compositions were created very much in the spirit of the surreal and dadaist collages on Max Ernst, but with a wild, rough informality more akin to the expressionism of the Beat Generation. In the 1960s, VanDerBeek began working with the likes of Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, as well as representatives… read more
One of Terry Gilliam's main sources of inspiration in the creation of the Monty Python series, this technically pioneering classic starts out seeming rather transparent (satirical memento mori) but becomes a lot more strange & moving once the title credits appear & everything is reconfigured in surprising ways with a wild creative energy that counterpoints the satire & the film's sombre subjects.