Underground Film Journal

DVD Underground: Masterworks Of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film 1920-1970

DVD cover featuring stills from avant-garde films

Official Description: Flicker Alley and the Blackhawk Films® Collection, in collaboration with Filmmakers Showcase, are proud to present Masterworks of American Avant-garde Experimental Film 1920-1970 in a 4-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Edition. This breathtaking collection includes 37 films, restored to pristine high-definition, from some of the foremost experimental filmmakers of the 20th century.

Commencing in 1920 with Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand’s creative collaboration on Manhatta, successive generations of experimental filmmakers and artists have worked in collaboration or alone to create a cinema capable of expressing dynamic unspoken concepts in totally abstract visual terms.

To watch these films is to see the world anew through cinematic interventions: fast cutting, expressive camerawork, abstract animation, surrealistic collage, distorted and superimposed imagery, and many more extraordinary techniques. Essentially the filmmakers ask us to open our eyes and see, to permit the reception of pure sensations uninhibited by any complex web of predetermined associations dominant in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

Collected from archives around the world, and beautifully restored in high definition, the majority of vintage silent films in Masterworks of American Avant-garde Experimental Film 1920-1970 feature new musical scores from innovative composers Donald Sosin, George Antheil, Eric Beheim, Rodney Sauer, Gustavo Matamoros, Henry Wolfe and Phil Carluzzo.

Distributor: Flicker Alley

Availability: Amazon

Contents:

The 1920s

Manhatta (1920-21) by Charles Sheeler, Paul Strand
2K digital restoration from 35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 16fps, 11:41 minutes; new music by Donald Sosin

Ballet Mechanique (1923-24) by Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy
2K digital restoration from 35mm 1.33:1 black & white with color tints silent 20fps, 15:53 minutes; music by George Antheil from original 1924-25 score adapted and arranged by Paul D. Lehrman and remixed by Gustavo Matamoros

Anémic cinéma (filmed 1924-25, released 1926) by Rrose Sélavy a.k.a. Marcel Duchamp
35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 20fps, 6:40 minutes; new music by Gustavo Matamoros

The Life and Death of 9413–A Hollywood Extra (1927) by Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich
35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 20fps, 13:20 minutes; new music by Donald Sosin

Skyscraper Symphony (1929) by Robert Florey
35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 24fps, 8:53 minutes; new music by Donald Sosin

The 1930s

Mechanical Principles (1930) by Ralph Steiner
35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 20fps, 10:18 minutes; new music by Eric Beheim

A Bronx Morning (1931) by Jay Leyda
35mm 1.33:1 black & white silent 20fps, 14:05 minutes; new music by Donald Sosin

Lot in Sodom (1930-32, released 1933) by J.S. Watson, Jr., Melville Webber, Alec Wilder, Remsen Wood, Bernard O’Brien.
35mm 1:20:1 black & white sound, 25:53 minutes; music by Louis Siegel

Poem 8 (1932-33) by Emlen Etting
16mm 1.37:1 black & white silent 18fps, 19:40 minutes; new music by Rodney Sauer

An Optical Poem (1937, MGM release 1938) by Oskar Fischinger
35mm 1.33:1 color sound, 7:02 minutes; music Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 2 by Franz Liszt

Thimble Theater (c. 1938, unfinished until 1968) by Joseph Cornell
16mm 1.37:1 black & white with color tint silent 18fps, 6:07 minutes; completed by Lawrence Jordan; new music:
vintage circus organ

The 1940s

Tarantella (1940) by Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth, animation Norman McLaren
35mm 1.37:1 color sound, 4:24 minutes; music by Edwin Gerschefski

The Pursuit of Happiness (1940) by Rudy Burckhardt
16mm 1.37:1 black & white intentionally silent 16fps, 8:09 minutes

1941 (1941) by Francis Lee
35mm from 16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 4 minutes; music by Igor Stravinsky

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) by Maya Deren, A. Hackenschmied
16mm 1.37:1 black & white intentionally silent, 13:46 minutes

Meditation on Violence (1948) by Maya Deren
35mm enlarged from 16mm with 2K digital insert from 16mm 1.37:1 black & white sound, 12:27 minutes; music a mix of Chinese classical flute and drums recorded in Haiti by Maya Deren

In the Street (filmed 1945-46, released 1948, 1952) by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, James Agee.
16mm 1.37:1 black & white silent 18fps, 16:50 minutes; music by Arthur Kleiner

The 1950s

Four in the Afternoon (1950-51) by James Broughton
16mm 1.37:1 black & white sound, 14 minutes; music by William O. Smith

Abstronic (1952) by Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth
35mm 1.37:1 color sound, 5:45 minutes; music Hoe Down by Aaron Copland, Ranch House Party by Don Gillis

Eaux d’artifice (1953) by Kenneth Anger
16mm 1.37:1 black & white tinted color sound, 12:57 minutes; music “Winter” movement of The Four Seasons by
Antonio Vivaldi

Bells of Atlantis (1952-53) by Ian Hugo, Anaïs Nin, Len Lye
16mm 1.37.1 color sound, 9:27 minutes; electronic music Louis & Bebe Barron.

Evolution (1954) by Jim Davis
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 8:01 minutes.

Gyromorphosis (1954) by Hy Hirsh
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 6:40 minutes; music: Django by John Lewis, played by the Modern Jazz Quartet

Hurry, Hurry! (1957) by Marie Menken
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 4:27 minutes.

N.Y., N.Y. (filmed 1949-57, released 1958) by Francis Thompson
35mm from 16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 15:10 minutes; music by Gene Forrell

The 1960s

9 Variations on a Dance Theme (1966/67) by Hilary Harri
16mm 1.37 black & white sound, 12:39 minutes; music by McNeil Robinson.

Castro Street (The Coming of Consciousness) (1966) by Bruce Baillie
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 9:59 minutes

Film That Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter (1968) by Owen Land, formerly George Landow
16mm 1.37:1 black & white sound, 8:26 minutes

Excerpt from Walden: Diaries, Notes and Sketches (1969) by Jonas Mekas
16mm 1.37:1; color sound excerpt end of Reel 5 and beginning of Reel 6, 13:05 minutes; music by Frédéric Chopin, Group Image

Our Lady of the Sphere (1969) by Lawrence Jordan
35mm from 16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 9:14 minutes

1970

Love It / Leave It (1970) by Tom Palazzolo
16mm 1.37:1; color sound, 14:07 minutes; music by Ray Whilding White

DL2 (Disintegration Line #2) (1970) by Lawrence Janiak
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 11:46 minutes; music Bumblebees Sip Honey by Peliatan Gamelan

Transport (1970) by Amy Greenfield
16mm 1.37:1 color sound, 5:43 minutes; music by Indiran

Legacy Bonus Films

Sappho and Jerry, Parts 1-3 (1977-78) by Bruce Posner
35mm 2.55:1 reformatted to 1080 color sound, 5:35 minutes

Ch’an (1983) by Francis Lee
16mm 1.37 black & white sound, 6:08 minutes; music by Christopher Atwood

Seasons… (2002) by Phil Solomon, Stan Brakhage
16mm 1.37:1 color silent, 16:00 minutes

Manhatta (1920-21) by Charles Sheeler, Paul Strand
See first entry – new music composed and performed by Henry Wolfe and Phil Carluzzo.