Blade Runner vs. Metropolis

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Given the chronology this should really be “Metropolis vs. Blade Runner” but most people are more familiar with Ridley Scott than Fritz Lang so I’ve let Blade Runner determine the order of the shots.

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These shot comparisons aren’t exactly news but they’ve become more evident since rewatching the restored print of Metropolis. Among other things, the rediscovered footage yielded a scene with a character reading a newspaper that’s a match for Harrison Ford’s first appearance. The similarities extend, of course, to the thematic: futuristic megacities, flying vehicles, the creation of artificial human beings. Both films also end with a struggle to the death on the roof of a building. The cinematographer for Blade Runner was Jordan Cronenweth; Metropolis was the work of Karl Freund, Günther Rittau and Walter Ruttmann.

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Continue reading “Blade Runner vs. Metropolis”

Walter Ruttmann’s abstract cinema

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Histories of abstract cinema often begin with Oskar Fischinger, a filmmaker and animator who was certainly a pioneer of the form. But these four silent shorts by Walter Ruttmann (1887–1941), Lichtspiel: Opus I, II, III & IV (1921–25) predate Fischinger’s work, and also prefigure Fischinger’s own animations of swooping shapes, blooming circles and stabbing triangles. Ruttmann’s abstractions are very sophisticated considering they’re such early examples of this type of experimental cinema. Some of the sequences in Opus IV resemble the kinds of graphics seen during title sequences in TV programmes of the 1960s.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
7362, a film by Pat O’Neill
Here and There, a film by Andrzej Pawlowski
Power Spot by Michael Scroggins
OffOn by Scott Bartlett
The Flow III
Chris Parks
Len Lye
Matrix III by John Whitney
Symphonie Diagonale by Viking Eggeling
Mary Ellen Bute: Films 1934–1957
Norman McLaren
John Whitney’s Catalog
Arabesque by John Whitney
Moonlight in Glory
Jordan Belson on DVD
Ten films by Oskar Fischinger
Lapis by James Whitney