MEDA101 Week 11 Lecture – Alternative and Experimental Cinema

Experimental Film / Avant-garde Cinema

Experimental film evolves out of visual arts, it transferred what people were doing in visual arts on a canvas to film. Walter Ruttmann’s Lichtspeil: Opus 2 (1921) used film to present graphic design in motion, his work is a great example of experimental film.

Surrealist Man Ray took photography techniques and surreal imagery and put them into film, such as over exposure and solarisation. he was very interested in the juxtaposition of objects and the female form.

Stan Brakhage was very well known for making the film his canvas by painting and scratching on the films, he used a lot f experimentation in his film making.

Experiments in Cinema

There are parts of cinematic storytelling that are unique to the form, such as montage, dreams, memories and points of view.

Non-linear narrative has become a massive form of storytelling in contemporary film making. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is a great example of this.

Documentary cinema is perhaps the most experimental genre because it has never acquired set conventions. Each story is told in very different ways and has a different paradigm.

Expanded Cinema

Pushes the boundaries of cinema and rejects the traditional one-way relationship between the audience and the screen. An example of expanded cinema is Daniel Crooks Phantom Ride. Most Expanded Cinema works are shown in galleries rather than cinemas or theatres.


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