Seems to hint at intrusion, invasion - bodies both human and machine fuming under extreme duress. A foundational example of image assaulting emotion, reason, and taste - from this perspective, it's pretty clear this film added tools to the filmmaking toolkit.
Comme souvent dans la fantasmagorique panoplie du cinéma expérimental, on peut être subjugué par le déferlement sauvage et pulsionnel d'images qui réveillent des substrats de l'imaginaire et de l'inconscient ou tout simplement indifférent, hermétique, non concerné par le défilement anarchique et inconséquent des images... www.cinefiches.com
An arresting Dada curiosity that can't help but feel dated (a bit heavy on the kaleidoscope). Still, there are some brilliant effects in it, particularly the cross-cutting of the old and young women, not to mention the portrayal of machinery, which underlines Welles' view that cinema was the greatest toy train set a man could ever have.
Ein heute noch beeindruckender Film. Welch verstörende u. faszinierende Wirkung er 1924 gehabt haben muss! - das Zusammenspiel von Ton u. Bild, das Repetitive, das Kaleidoskopartige, die Bewegung und Geschwindigkeit. / Even today a breathtaking impres. film. Which distressing and fascinating effect he must have had 1924! - the interaction of tone and picture, the repetitive, the kaleidoscopic, the movement and speed.
Well that was an experience. Interesting to see everyday life seeming juxtaposed with strange editing and the movement of machines. Are we nothing more than movement, existing as machines in a machine dominated world? Or is the whole exercise meaningless and a farce, much like what life may be like? Its hard to know, but short films like Ballet Mecanique help keep these questions alive for those willing to watch.
I'm struck by the way these meditations on, or drawn from, the mechanical are fast becoming archaic in our post-modern, predominantly digital ordering of life and thought and theory. Compelling, but almost in the same way as something like steampunk: Either could be the true predecessor of our age; both capture the imagination, seem equally improbable... Meh. Musings aside: The brash, relentless dance of modernity.
I wonder what it would have meant to see something like this in 1924. Would it have justified any suspicions of the role technology was coming to play? Or would it have seemed like liberation from flesh and blood? Or a fusion of the two; the ballet and the mechanical of the title.
The amazing visuals and striking score along set this film apart from others for me, First introduced to this film in a week of film class dedicated to avant-garde film, with a line up of people like Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, Luis Buñuel and many more, Lèger's 'Mechanical Ballet' was the first film we tackled. Subsequently, my introduction to avant-garde film making at it's purest, is the one that has stuck with me