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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Ballet Mécanique

ballet1.jpg

A film to round off a week of connected posts. Ballet Mécanique (1924) is more Dada than Surrealist if you want to get strict about the taxonomy, but the latter movement grew out of the former, and this short experiment by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy is a pioneering piece of work however it’s labelled. The film was photographed by Man Ray who used a variety of techniques including animation and kaleidoscope shots to present a “ballet” of machine parts and kitchen utensils. Some of the kaleidoscope images are so close to the opening shots of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) you have to wonder whether a viewing of this gave Lang ideas.

Ballet Mécanique has been provided with many scores over the years, from player pianos and sirens to more traditional arrangements. The copy at the Internet Archive has a contemporary score but like all silent films this can always be replaced with music of your own choosing.

ballet2.jpg

Previously on { feuilleton }
Dreams That Money Can Buy
La femme 100 têtes by Eric Duvivier
Metropolis!
Entr’acte by René Clair

 


 

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {art}, {film}.

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One comment or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by michelangelo

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    “Ballet Mécanique has been provided with many scores over the years”, but the original project was with composer George Antheil. I am not 100% sure but I think his score is the first modern piece written exclusively for percussion ensemble.

 


 

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