Monday, September 29, 2014

Experimental films vol.2

As we take a further look into experimental films, we discover that there is actually a rich history and tradition to it, which we would not expect, since it is not a part of mainstream culture, and it is  not known among many people outside of the film practitioners .We can say that the beginning  of experimental cinema has its roots  among European film makers, most notably in France and Russia. Film makers in France which are known as a part of the avant- garde movement were the first ones who pushed the boundaries and norms of  film making  when it comes to editing ,camera positioning and character subjectivity. Many of these filmmakers  also belonged to  Dadaist  and Surrealist art movements, and this combination led to a production of what is considered to be one of the best and most influential experimental films of all times, Un chien andalou ,by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. When it comes to Russia, it's cinema contributed the most when it comes to editing, since many of the film practitioners developed significant  theories about it, most significantly Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov, and Dziga Vertov. Any aspiring experimental filmmaker can take a look at a film The man with a movie camera by Dziga Vertov, as a basic manual for what editing contributes to experimental film making and film making in general . As time went on, much of experimental films were produced in America, and it's the place where this kind of film making actually established its self through an institution, most notably The Film- Makers'  Cooperative. Most notable artists include Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and later on  Jack Smith and Andy Warhol. But let's put the history aspect aside, and take a look at the  other  elements which make an experimental film.
One of the most important things when it comes to experimental films is that  they are made completely outside of commercial cinema and entertainment industry. These productions are usually made on very low budgets , and they are either self- financed or made with some kind of small grants. They crew is minimal ,and it is very common that these kind of  productions are driven by a one individual, in a kind of a 'one - man show ' , where one person is in charge of organisation, writing, filming,editing often even distributing the project. This aspect provides a complete individualistic expression, and we can say that it also had a deep impact on  independent cinema . This kind of approach buys complete independence, and the artist is free to choose  the subject and theme of the film with no constraints, which gives the viewers a full sense of the individual consciousness of the filmmaker.
Another very important aspect when it comes to experimental films, is that they are rare not considered to be very popular. This is due to two  reasons. One of them is that there is no regular place to showcase these films, if one wants to get acquainted with this kind of cinema, they would have to pay attention to small film societies, microcinemas , museums or art galleries,  because they are not available in  movie theaters which  most  of people turn to  in our day to day life. Another reason is  what these film represent to a regular movie viewer , and that is mostly a wonderfully strange world which makes no common sense. Experimental films play with the basic values of film, and their attention is to ridicule the very notions of plots, characters and settings. They use abstract techniques and abstract imagery, avoid verbal content and disfigure the sound component, which produces a piece of work which has no clear, univalent message, and this is something which a regular movie viewer is not used to. When it comes to cinema, there is a set of firm rules when it comes to making a film, with a goal to make to viewer completely unaware that they are actually watching a film, and this is not possible when it comes to experimental film, which demands a more active participation of the viewer, and constantly reminds them that they are actually seeing a film.
Although these film aren't very popular outside of the world of film practitioners, they have influenced the medium itself and the whole cinema immensely. We can take the movie Scorpio Rising by Kenneth Anger  as an example, which is the first movie to use the rock' 'n roll soundtrack, and we can say that this film was the anticipation of the music video. Besides influencing the music videos, experimental films have influenced cinematography,visual effects,editing and even television commercials.
Today, when we have far more opportunities to find any information we want, anyone who wants to explore the world of  experimental films can do so, as  many of these films are  available on YouTube. It is a strongest recommendation to everyone to gain a perspective when it comes to experimental cinema, not only in order to know that there are a very different kind of films, but to   also understand the visual medium with which we are surrounded in the present.

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