Great mentions, everyone. I’d also recommend pretty much the catalog of Other Cinema DVD for more avant-garde work. Spectres of the Spectrum, Experiments in Terror (I, II, and most recently III), and Anxious Animation are their best purchases. They also have Sins of the Fleshapoids. ’Nuff said.
“-what is the difference between Dada and surrealism?”
A great discussion of this is Inez Hedges’ brilliant essay “Breaking the Frames”. Unfortunately the collection it’s in is out of print and impossible to find, so I don’t know where it’s available now. But it might be floating around the Internet.
Dada was something more of a collagist movement, and one also less concerned with asking the audience to concentrate on the film. Some Dadaists were making what they considered to be “moving wall paper”, early projections on walls while other things in the room were happening, so that the film and the other activity would distract from each other and/or recontextualize each other.
The Surrealists were more interested in continuity. Bunuel and Dali essentially made Un chien andalou to show up other experimental filmmakers at the time that were playing mostly with “special effects” (optical extensions, lighting, elaborate staging and props a la The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra), simplifying the idea of “avant garde” to the level of using already existing film techniques and narrative form to subvert audience expectations and create dream-like states. They were as inspired by Buster Keaton as the social movement they involved themselves in.
Though both started out as a really reactionary and even political stance against contemporary norms, I think the Surrealists became something more political than either movements intended. I’m not positive though because I’m pretty limited in my art history training, knowing most of what I know from film, which of course does not encompass all of the things going on at the time in either movement.
Oh guys, what about Oskar Fischinger? His work mostly lives on as the opening sequence of Fantasia, though Disney fired him because he was too abstract. He created a lot of animations exploring the synthesis of music into image, and some of his most striking ones are the ones that are actually silent. Recently a retrospective of his work toured, and there’s now a DVD of ten of his most famous.
I really want to see some stuff by Detroit-based filmmaker Peter Hutton (At Sea) and Chicago-based filmmaker Ben Russell ( Black & White Trypps). Anyone know where I can find clips by these guys?
Stephen Dwoskin – Trying to Kiss the Moon (1994) , Behindert (1974) , Dyn Amo (1972)Patrick Bokanowski – L’ange (1982) , Au bord du lac (1994)Frans Zwartjes – Bedsitters (1974) , Sorbet 3 (1968) , Behind Your Walls (1970) Philippe Garrel – Le Bleu des origines (1979) , Les hautes solitudes (1974)Emily Richardson – Redshift (2001) , Aspect (2004)Malcolm Le Grice – Little Dog For Roger (1967) , Threshold (1972)Jack Chambers – Hart of London (1970)Stan Brakhage – Stellar (1993) , Window Water Baby Moving (1962) , Dog Star ManPeter Tscherkassky – Outer Space (1999) , Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) , L’arrivée (1998) Peter Kubelka – Pause! (1977) , Unsere Afrikareise (1966) , Arnulf Rainer (1960) , Schwechater (1958) Gustav Deutsch – Film ist. (1998) , Welt Spiegel Kino (2005) Virgil Widrich – Fast Film (2003) , Copy Shop (2001) Martin Arnold – Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy (1998) , Passage à l’acte (1993) Otto Mühl – Manopsychotisches Ballett (1970) , Mano-Test (1970) Kurt Kren – Selbstverstümmelung (1965) , O Tannenbaum (1964) , Leda mit dem Schwan (1964) Lisl Ponger – Passagen (1996)Mara Mattuschka – Cerolax II (1985) , S.O.S. Estraterrestria (1993)Valie Export – …Remote… Remote… (1973) , Unsichtbare Gegner (1977) Maya Deren – Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) , Witch’s Cradle (1944) Oskar Fischinger – Allegretto (1936-43) , Radio Dynamics (1942) , Motion Painting No. 1 (1947)Ken Jacobs – Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son (1969) , Star Spangled to Death (2004) Jonas Mekas – Diaries Notes and Sketches (1969) , Lost, Lost, Lost (1976) , As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) Michael Snow – Wavelength (1967) , Presents (1981)Pat O’Neill – Water and Power (1989) Andy Warhol – Empire (1964) , Vinyl (1965) , Outer and Inner Space (1966)
Stalker by Tarkovsky
Margaret Leng Tan
The Lumière Brothers
Jennifer McCoy & Kevin McCoy
Frank & Caroline Mouris
Music with Roots in the Aether
Nam June Paik
Arnaud des Pallières
Oliver Payne & Nick Relph
People Like Us
The best place to find experimental films online is http://ubu.com/ Check out their index http://www.ubu.com/film/index.html to see if your favourites are there. I discovered them once when looking for more info on Toshio Matsumoto and was delighted to find so many of his films on their site.
Meredith Monk is a filmmaker too? I love her music—have to check her out.
Not sure if he qualifies as Avant Garde but i didn’t think a full thread was necessary for my inquiry so whatever.
Are there any big Matthew Barney fans out there? I would like someone to tell me if The Order from Cremaster 3 is worth paying 40 dollars for considering it’s only 30 minutes. Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
I realize it’s silly to base worth on running time but money is tight so I’m thinking like a philistine :)
Thank you, Nishikata Eiga, for referencing Ubu.com. I’ve had that link in my profile for some time. It’s a great resource!
As for the people calling for Maya Deren compilations:
It’s a wonderful disc.
Who would avant garde now…?
The Light Penetrates the Dark (1930, Otakar Vavra)
Sergei Parajanov no competition!!!!!!!!!
The Maya Deren compilation is on Netflix Instant now.
I was inspired to watch the first film, Meshes of the Afternoon, which is great. The music video for Ambling Alp by Yeasayer bit off the mirror-face idea from it, and I must say I find it a good sign that people are still getting inspiration from old avant garde film.
Brakage, Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs, Su Friedrich, Maya Deren, Oskar Fischinger, Hollis Frampton, Jon Jost, James Benning.
I just had to the opportunity today to see a rare 16mm print of Keewatin Dewdney’s The Maltese Cross Movement, which is brilliant.
Definitly Stephen Dwoskin :
Dear Frances (In Memoriam) (2003)
Lost Dreams (2003)
Take me (1968)
Uhm nobody mentioned German Expressionism?
My favorite Avantgarde!
“The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari” – Robert Wiene, 1920
“The Golem: How He Came Into the World " – Paul Wegener 1922
“Nosferatu” – Franz Murnau 1922
Then, Man Ray above all.
“L’etoile de mer” and “Les mysteres du chateau du des” are wonderful pieces of art.
And Fernand Leger, and Francis Picabia.
“Entr-acte” is wonderful.
KINO has the best Avantgarde collection, the one frm the 20s-30s is worth the price!