Global Discoveries on DVD:
Winter Clearance -
By Jonathan Rosenbaum

Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde 1894-1941

This awesome seven-disc box set, including 155 films by 100 artists and encompassing about 19 hours—curated by Bruce Posner and released jointly by Anthology Film Archives and Image Entertainment—is one of the key examples to date of DVDs being used to rewrite and expand the parameters of film history.

Quite simply, Posner reinvents the American avant-garde cinema so that it now includes Busby Berkeley production numbers and Slavko Vorkapich montages as well as industrial experiments and home movies, meanwhile enriching certain things we already know (e.g., an ideal version of 1924’s Ballet Méchanique that now includes the original musical score and some shots in colour) and making available many more things that were formerly out of reach (including some Joseph Cornell films that have been finally brought into viewable form—that is to say, completed—by Lawrence Jordan.)

I can’t pretend to do justice to this monument here, only point to it and gape.