An Introduction to the American Underground Film
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Written in the 1960's this book is a comprehensive study of avant-garde and experimental cinema dating back to the infancy of the cinema. Names like Stan Brakhage and Jordan Belson who have had a measurable impact on modern cinema as well as the more sensational auteurs like Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger and Jack Smith are discussed and evaluated. In our age of video and video discs, much of the book seems dated but the chronicling of the evolution of modern technique and thematic material is thorough and fascinating. Many of the discoveries of these pioneers are standard procedures in today's cinema.
Renan's book on underground film is a classic "introduction" to the American avant garde. Good stuff on Brakhage, was probably a gem in its day. Title sums it up, just short "blurbs" on some pretty now obscure filmmakers... a nice companion.
nor the third of Brunius's phases, Kirsanov filmed a melodramatic story of a girl orphaned, seduced, and avenged, and did it with a hand-held camera in which he created striking montages and lyric superimpositions. It was poetic, it was touching, and it was original. Menilmontant starred a beautiful Russian unknown, Nadia Sibirskaia, who later appeared in his Brumes d'Automne (1926), a film poem with rain, mist, autumn landscapes, and Sibirskaia's face with tears. Kirsanov made only one other
technique. As for the magic, he pays homage to the late English occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Anger grew up in Hollywood, appearing in several movies as a baby, and started making his own when he was nine. His early works were Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat? (1941), the hand-tinted Tinsel Tree (1941—42), a science-fiction film with miniatures called Prisoner of Mars (1942), a psychodrama about incest called The Nest (1943), another psychodrama, Escape Episode (1944, re-edited,
more and more involved with expanded cinema and working as an adjunct to dance works. For a Merce Cunningham dance piece, he made the three-screen Variation 5 (1965), which included shots of Cunningham dancing, the astronauts floating in space, and Nam June Paik's electronic television distortions. He did Sight (1965) for a Bob Morris dance work, and photographed Yvonne Rainer's Room Service (1965). He made Pastorale: Et Al (1965), which is photographed portions of a dance combined with a dance
it at all. "Expanded cinema" arrives with its integration into film of many techniques and processes never before considered to be film. This questioning of the medium never stops. And with every new kind of film, with every new technique, the underground enlarges the definition of what film can be. Poetry One might call many underground works "film poems," but that is an uneasy category. It is uneasy because there really is not a satisfactory definition of poetry, let alone film poetry. Let
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