The Early Avant-Garde Film of Hans Richter

Iso50 posted this found footage video by a band called “The Soft Moon” earlier, and I was compelled to talk about it a little bit more than it had been in the comments section. The footage is actually from some of the earliest avant-garde experiments in films perceptual qualities, how depth, volume, and other geometrics are communicated through time in two dimensional space. Here’s a straight up comparison of the two videos (If you’re viewing this on tumblr, please click the perma-link button to see the videos in frame):

Above is the re-cut version of Richter’s original studies titled “rhytmus 21” “rhytmus 23” and “rhytmus 25” respectively. Pprobably this cut was done digitally, but it’s fun to image how people used to have to do all cuts and transitions manually but literally cutting and re-exposing film for dissolves and such.

The music from the second video was clearly added later. These films are very much about the perceptual experience of film so music isn’t important. If you enjoyed these, I’d suggest checking out some other experimental cinema from this period. I imagine the film was probably made using one or both of these techniques: 1. It was created photogram style where each frame was a re-exposed after an object was moved around on the film, 2. Richter used mobile blocks of paper and things to create the animations in real time. I imagine the former is more probable. Anyway, it’s fun to watch, regardless. Below I’ve posted a couple more famous ones that I’ve had the chance to see.

Yes, indeed, Duchamp also worked on film.

Man Ray actually assisted Duchamp with the film shown previously, as well as with a film called “Ballet Mécanique” that’s also worth checking out.

August 22, 2010, 10:51am