"Meshes of the Afternoon is one of the most influential works in American experimental cinema. A non-narrative work, it has been identified as a key example of the 'trance film,' in which a protagonist appears in a dreamlike state, and where the camera conveys his or her subjective focus. The central figure in Meshes of the Afternoon, played by Deren, is attuned to her unconscious mind and caught in a web of dream events that spill over into reality. Symbolic objects, such as a key and a knife, recur throughout the film; events are open-ended and interrupted. Deren explained that she wanted 'to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.'
Made by Deren with her husband, cinematographer Alexander Hammid, Meshes of the Afternoon established the independent avant-garde movement in film in the United States, which is known as the New American Cinema. It directly inspired early works by Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and other major experimental filmmakers. Beautifully shot by Hammid, a leading documentary filmmaker and cameraman in Europe (where he used the surname Hackenschmied) before he moved to New York, the film makes new and startling use of such standard cinematic devices as montage editing and matte shots. Through her extensive writings, lectures, and films, Deren became the preeminent voice of avant-garde cinema in the 1940s and the early 1950s."
The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999.
Maya Deren (1943). "Meshes of the Afternoon", 16mm film, black and white, silent, 14 min. Acquired from the Artist.
"'It's very significant indeed, it's the world's first natural colour film and the fact that it's a Brit who invented it is fantastic.'
Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the British Film Institute (BFI) National Archives, said the 1902 footage was of international significance for the cinema world.
The films were made by Edward Raymond Turner from London who patented his colour process on 22 March, 1899. Some of the footage features Mr Turner's children in the garden of their home in Hounslow."
(12 September 2012, BBC News)
The world's first colour moving pictures dating from 1902 have been found by the National Media Museum in Bradford after lying forgotten in a tin for 110 years.
"The project 'Virtual Circuit' contains a crowing collection of important avant-garde cinema, audio, lecture and science related to human creativity. Please notice it's a strictly noncommercial project with the goal to show old and new innovations in visuals, sound and new media."
Fig.1 Cuban Telephone Company (1950) "Historia de la telefonía en Cuba".
Fig.2 Yoshinao Satoh (1991). "Papers", A brilliant structuralistic animation made with japanese newspapers.
Fig.3 Andrew Huang (2005). "Doll Face", A machine with a doll face mimics images on television screen in search of a satisfactory visage. Doll Face presents a visual account of desires misplaced and identities fractured by our technological extension into the future.
"Buster Keaton is considered one of the greatest comic actors of all time. His influence on physical comedy is rivaled only by Charlie Chaplin. Like many of the great actors of the silent era, Keaton's work was cast into near obscurity for many years. Only toward the end of his life was there a renewed interest in his films. An acrobatically skillful and psychologically insightful actor, Keaton made dozens of short films and fourteen major silent features, attesting to one of the most talented and innovative artists of his time. ...
Often at odds with the physical world, his ability to naively adapt brought a melancholy sweetness to the films. The subtlety of the work, however, left Keaton behind the more popular Chaplin and Lloyd. By the 1930s, the studio felt it was in their best interest to take control of his films. No longer writing or directing, Keaton continued to work at a grueling pace. Not understanding the complexity of his genius, they wrote for him simple characters that only took advantage of the most basic of his skills. For Keaton, as for many of the silent movie stars, the final straw was the advent of the talkies."
(American Masters and The Public Broadcasting Corporation)
"Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy. Film pioneer Dziga Vertov uses all the cinematic techniques available at the time - dissolves, split screen, slow motion and freeze frames."
(Moving Image Archive)
Fig.1 Dziga Vertov (1929). 'Man With A Movie Camera', VUFKU (The Ukrainian Photo and Cinema Administration).