Tag Archives: 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 »