Lights (1966)

  Lights (1966) Poetry comes alive through associative meanings full of sound. Words are the medium, bringing with them a history of usages and allusions. What would the poetry of film involve? A movie comes to life from optical illusions of motion because of a rapid flow of single frames; the primary medium becomes the … More Lights (1966)

Ballet Mécanique

Ballet Mécanique (1924 ) This short experimental film was conceived by Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy (with cinematographic input from Man Ray) and music by George Antheil. Its juxtapositions of the human and the mechanical suggest a world succumbing to the mechanistic, a dehumanizing production line. The French model Alice Prin, … More Ballet Mécanique

La Jetée

La Jetée (1962) Using optically printed photographs in varying rhythms, Chris Marker experimented with persistence of vision to explore the complexities of memory. Underground researchers, survivors disrupted by atomic war, enlist a prisoner to travel back in time, then forward in order to find a device that can save human society. A voice-under narrator recounts … More La Jetée

Meshes of the Afternoon

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Maya Deren broke through the glass ceiling to create this significant surreal statement of women’s consciousness during the conformist forties and fifties. As the Museum of Modern Art has indicated, “A non-narrative work, it has been identified as a key example of the ‘trance film,’ in which a protagonist appears … More Meshes of the Afternoon

Faces/Places

Faces/Places [Villages Visages] (2017) Documentary filmmaker Agnès Varda joins forces with instillation photographer J. R. on a road trip across France, visiting coal mines, stockyards, factories, farms, and enlarging photographic images of the people who live and work there, to plaster across buildings, silos, train cars, crates, etc. The impermanence of art is J. R.’ … More Faces/Places

Rodin (2017)

Rodin (2017) The problem with this version of Rodin is that it will always be judged by the extraordinary Camille Claudel, Bruno Nuytten‘s 1988 biopic, starring the incomparable Isabelle Adjani, for which she received both a César and an Academy Award. Jacques Doillon takes a fairly conventional approach, through a series of tableaux that put … More Rodin (2017)

Final Portrait (2018)

Final Portrait (2018) Stanley Tucci wrote and directed this independent film that focuses on the unrelenting obsession of Alberto Giacometti when at work making a portrait of his friend James Lord, who wrote about the experience. Geoffrey Rush provides a credible performance as the artist, and Tony Shalhoub surprises as his brother Diego. The excruciating … More Final Portrait (2018)

Judex (1963)

Judex (1963) Jacques Champreux, the grandson of Louis Feuillade, convinced Georges Franju to remake Judex in the tradition of early French serial crime dramas. A banker is sent a threatening letter, demanding that he return all money swindled from other clients. It is signed “Judex,” which means either “justice” or “revenge.” The result is a … More Judex (1963)

The Color of Pomegranates (1969)

The Color of Pomegranates (1969) Sergei Parajanov recreates the story of Armenian bard Sayat-Nova through a series of iconographic tableaux. The resplendent colors and austere asceticism of historic locations saturate this movie in ritual. “Actress Sofiko Chiaureli notably plays six roles in the film.” Soviet censors had little understanding or sympathy for such celebration of … More The Color of Pomegranates (1969)