Man Ray

Man Ray – Le retour à la raison AKA Return to Reason (1923)

More a work in experimental Dadaism than a film, «Le Retour à la raison» was the first film to be made by the celebrated surrealist artist, Man Ray. The American-born artist made the film soon after he moved to Paris in the early 1920s to found the Dada movement.
The film is very short (three minutes in length) but includes some astonishing and evocative images. The early segments of the film iillustrates a technique which Man Ray pioneered in static photography, the rayograph (or photogramme). Here, an object is placed between a light source and photo-sensitive film, in contrast to traditional photography where photographic film captures light reflected off an object. Read More »

Man Ray – L’étoile de Mer AKA The Starfish (1928)

In the modernist high tide of l920s experimental filmmaking, L’ETOILE DE MER is a perverse moment of grace, a demonstration that the cinema went farther in its great silent decade than most filmmakers today could ever imagine. Surrealist photographer Man Ray’s film collides words with images (the intertitles are from an otherwise lost work by poet Robert Desnos’) to make us psychological witnesses, voyeurs of a kind, to a sexual encounter. A character picks up a woman who is selling newspapers. She undresses for him, but then he seems to leave her. Less interested in her than in the weight she uses to keep her newspapers from blowing away, the man lovingly explores the perceptions generated by her paperweight, a starfish in a glass tube. Read More »

Man Ray – Les mystères du château de Dé AKA The Mysteries of the Chateau de De (1929)

Mannequin hands hold a pair of dice. A castle is perched on a hilltop. Below it, a posh, modern villa. Meanwhile, far from Paris, two men with masked faces play dice in a bar. They decide to drive to Paris. Country roads, hills, fences. The posh “chateau” appears again: meticulous garden, fancy interior, odd sculptures. And at home? “No one, NO ONE.” For the next two days, masked figures play dice, frolic by the pool, perform exercises with a ball. Two new figures arrive. Masked. They search and find the dice. They dance. Mannequin hands hold a pair of dice. Read More »

Man Ray – Emak-Bakia AKA Leave Me Alone (1927)

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Synopsis:
Emak-Bakia shows elements of fluid mechanical motion in parts, rotating artifacts showing his ideas of everyday objects being extended and rendered useless. Kiki of Montparnasse (Alice Prin) is shown driving a car in a scene through a town. Towards the middle of the film Jacques Rigaut appears dressed in female clothing and make-up. Later in the film a caption appears: La raison de cette extravagance (The reason for this extravagance)and it cuts to a car arriving and a passenger leaving with briefcase entering a building, opening the case revealing men’s shirt collars which he proceeds to tear in half. The collars are then used as a focus for the film, rotating through double exposures.
When the film was first exhibited, a man in the audience stood up to complain it was giving him a headache and hurting his eyes. Another man told him to shut up, and they both started to fight. The theatre turned into a frenzy, the fighting end up out in the street, and the police were called in to stop the riot. Read More »