John Grierson & Edgar Anstey – Granton Trawler (1934)

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Granton Trawler follows the small fishing vessel, Isabella Greig, as it carries out its dragnet fishing along the Viking Bank off the Norwegian coast of the North Sea. Grierson used the film to teach budding directors how to analyze movement photographically and how to make use of sound for contrapuntal editing. The soundtrack is made up of crude rhythmic noises that represent the thumping of the ships engine and atmospheric sounds congenial to being present on board. There is no commentary. The sounds were all post-recorded, simulated in the studio. (One of the fisherman’s voices is Grierson’s). Although not credited, Alberto Cavalcanti is known to have created the soundtrack as one of his first creative duties after arriving at the Unit. Continue reading

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Jean-Luc Godard – Remerciements de Jean-Luc Godard à son Prix d’honneur du cinéma suisse (2015)

Jean-Luc Godard to receive Honorary Award

The 2015 Swiss Film Honorary Award will go to Jean-Luc Godard, one of cinema’s true visionaries and a virtuoso in the art of film editing, whose avant-garde work has inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of film makers the world over. Federal Councillor Alain Berset will present the legendary director with his “Quartz” trophy on 13 March during the official Swiss Film Award ceremony at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva.

The Federal Office of Culture will bestow the 2015 Swiss Film Honorary Award on Jean-Luc Godard, one of the founding fathers and leading lights of the French Nouvelle Vague. The award also comes with prize money of CHF 30,000. Continue reading

Alfonso Cuarón – Cuarteto para el fin del tiempo AKA Quartet for the End of Time (1983)

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A man sits alone in his apartment. Why does he watch as his goldfish washes down the drain? Why does he blow up balloons then release them out the window for no one to see? And for whom does he take out his clarinet to play ‘Quartet for the End of Time’?.

Shot in 16mm, while Alfonso Cuarón was a film student, Cuarteto Para El Fin Del Tiempo is a meditation on isolation and a young man’s withdrawal from the outside world. Using very few words, Cuarón relies on the power of the image to narrate the film, for which there was no written script:

‘It was an emotion rather than an idea that drove the process, it was about improvising and trying different things every day, trying to blend the character and the location with this emotion.’ Continue reading

Walerian Borowczyk & Chris Marker – Les astronautes (1959) (HD)

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The Astronauts (1959) is a short, collaborative animation project between eccentric filmmakers Walerian Borowczyk and Chris Marker. Borowczyk would later move into live-action film-making, turning his attention to a cinema of perverse eroticism with projects like Goto, The Island of Love (1969), The Immoral Tales (1974), Beast (1975) and Emmanuelle 5 (1987). Likewise, Marker would produce the short masterpiece La Jetée (1962), the celebrated proto-documentary Sans Soleil (1983) and his critical study of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, A.K. (1985). The film, at twelve-minutes in length, is a testament to the creative energy and ideas of these two filmmakers, not only standing as an interesting short film in its own right, but as a window into the creative world of these two, highly skilled, highly original filmmakers. It remains an amazing piece of work for this very reason, more so perhaps than any other; even if it is admittedly impossible to distinguish between which filmmaker was responsible for each individual part of the creative process, leaving us to assume that it was a pure collaboration in every sense of the word. Continue reading