Short Film: The Experimenting Angel
What do musician Alex Chilton and filmmakers Luis Buñuel and Max Le Cain have in common? Dang if I know, but there’s some connection between the three in Bill Mousoulis‘ experimental short film The Experimenting Angel. (Gotta love that title!) The film is basically split into two interweaving parts: One is a series of still photographs of Le Cain at what appears to be either a film shoot or a performance — or both — in an old church; and the other is scenes taken from Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or (1930). The Chilton portion of the film is, of course, on the soundtrack.
Born in Australia, Mousoulis is of Greek descent and it’s in Greece where he currently mostly resides. He’s a self-taught filmmaker, having originally trained himself using Super-8 cameras, much like fellow Australian indie director Mark Savage. In fact, Mousoulis was so enthusiastic about using that particular film gauge that he became heavily involved in Melbourne’s local community of other enthusiasts and helped form the the Melbourne Super-8 Film Group.
Mousoulis has obviously gone on to embrace other mediums. Much of his still photography in the above short film is quite stunning, particularly the opening shots of the vaulted ceilings of what I’m assuming is a church. He’s also gone on to adapt to using video, which can be seen in some of his other short films on YouTube, such as Culture Shock, Level One and Pig in a Poke.
The tribute to Buñuel in the above film also speaks to Mousoulis’ rabid cinephilia. In 1999, he founded the popular and still-running online film journal Senses of Cinema, which was created in response to the lack of critical film writing in Australia. He worked on the site in various capacities until ultimately leaving it altogether in 2002. As for The Experimenting Angel, I think the Alex Chilton song “Lady Sweet” works pretty well with the garden sequence from L’Age d’Or.
If you want to learn more about Bill Mousoulis, please visit his extensive personal website, and to watch more of his short films and excerpts, please visit his YouTube channel. Also, if you’re curious about Max Le Cain, you can visit his film blog, Close Watch.