USA, 26 min
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) music by Teiji Itō added 1952
Much like Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête , which came three years after this short, this piece pivoted on the repetition of certain objects. Through the rondo-like succession of imagery, these objects are instilled with emotional significance.
The cinematography by Deren’s Czech husband Alexander Hammid is skillful and effectively disorienting. It is all the more impressive when the limited budget the pair was working on is taken into account. His focus and composition were excellent, and his perspective was obviously sensitive to Deren’s vision.
9 years after the filming, Teiji Itō produced a minimal score for the piece at the age of 17. Through the use of semitones between what sounds like a human voice humming and a bowed bass note, the pressure of the unresolved diminished unison adds great tension to the short. The semitones paired with the staccato percussion speaks as much of Itō’s sensitivity to Deren’s vision as the cinematography spoke of Hammid’s. It is no wonder that Deren and Itō were later married.
Side note: Looks like Kate Bush much?
Der heilige Berg
Weimar Republic, 106 min
^ Riefenstahl’s debut
USA, 22 min
USA, 9 min
Les grenouilles qui demandent un roi
FR, 5 min
FR, 68 min
A series of documentary shorts, directed (without credit) by several famous French filmmakers, each running between two and four minutes. Each “tract” espouses a leftist political viewpoint through the filmed depiction of real-life events, including workers’ strikes and the events of Paris in May ’68.
Made by politically committed film-makers to serve as agit-prop for the events of May ‘68, these films rely exclusively on stills rather than documentary footage, yet the sense of contrast and movement is very strong and the films very effectively make their point; they attempt to catch the spirit, rather than the fact, of the May Revolution. And although made anonymously, one can detect the hands of Godard, Marker et. al.
an essay (pdf)
UK, 3 min