Tag Archives: Kiki of Montparnasse

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

L’étoile de mer (1928)

Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, “Adieu.” Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in a jar, city scenes, newspapers, tugboats. More images: starfish, the girl. “How beautiful she is.” Repeatedly. He advances up the stair, knife in hand, starfish on the step. Three people stand on a road, out of focus. “How beautiful she was.” “How beautiful she is.” “Beautiful.” Read More »

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 »

Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy – Ballet Mécanique (1924)

Ballet Mécanique (1923–24) is a Dadaist post-Cubist art film conceived, written, and co-directed by the artist Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy (with cinematographic input from Man Ray).[1] The film premiered in a silent version on 24 September 1924 at the Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik (International Exposition for New Theater Technique) in Vienna presented by Frederick Kiesler. It is considered one of the masterpieces of early experimental filmmaking. Read More »