Experiments in Technique and Form

The dynamic qualities of motion pictures are explored by cameramen and filmmakers through novel experiments in technique and form. Early cinematographers James White, "Billy" Bitzer, and Frederick Armitage display experimental shooting styles that wowed audiences. Other independent companies further image manipulation through creative staging, editing, and printing, such as a stunning three-screen film that predates Gance's Napoleon. Experiments by photographer Walker Evans, painter Emlen Etting, musician Jerome Hill, and the film collectives Nykino and Artkino record the world in a continual process of flux. A most extreme approach is realized by Henwar Rodakiewicz with Portrait of a Young Man (1925-31), a monumental study of natural and abstract motions.

5 Paris Exposition Films (1900)—James White
     Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Palace (1900)
     Palace of Electricity (1900)
     Champs de Mars (1900)
     Panorama of Eiffel Tower (1900)
     Scene from Elevator Ascending Eiffel Tower (1900)
Captain Nissen Going through Whirpool Rapids, Niagra Falls (1901)—creators unknown
Down the Hudson (1903)—Frederick Armitage & A.E. Weed
The Ghost Train (1903)—creators unknown
Westinghouse Works, Panorama View Street Car Motor Room (1904)—G.W. "Billy" Bitzer
In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea (c. 1924-25)—creators unknown
Melody on Parade (c. 1936)—creators unknown
La Cartomancienne (The Fortune Teller) (1932)—Jerome Hill
Pie in the Sky (1934-35)—Nykino: Elia Kazan, Ralph Steiner & Irving Lerner
Travel Notes (1932)—Walker Evans
Oil: A Symphony in Motion (1930-33)—Artkino: M.G. MacPherson & Jean Michelson
Poem 8 (1932-33)—Emlen Etting
Storm (1941-43)—Paul Burnford
Portrait of a Young Man (1925-31)—Henwar Rodakiewicz

Year: 1900-1943
Running time: 161 minutes
Contents: 18 Films
Format: B/W & Tinted;
Sound & Silent
Region: 0
Available as part of 7-disc box set

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"An abundance of early, rarely screened, completely restored experimental films…Rich with inventive and curious experiments." —LA Weekly

UNSEEN CINEMA: THE MECHANIZED EYE is one of a seven-DVD series exploring American avant-garde cinema from 1894-1941. Presented by Anthology Film Archives in association with the British Film Institute, Cineric, Film Preservation Associates, Deutsches Filmmuseum, George Eastman House, The Library of Congress and The Museum of Modern Art.

"There’s a certain American impulse to be cherished here—irascible, restless, and vibrant. The sense of possibility, of play, of discovering the possibilities of the form, is palpable in Unseen Cinema."
—City Pages, St. Paul/Minneapolis

"One of the best examples of Unseen Cinema’s eloquence, Poem 8, makes the case that cinema is part of the syntax of modernity."
—Object Magazine

Films preserved by
Anthology Film Archives
George Eastman House
The Library of Congress
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nederlands Filmmuseum
Turner Entertainment Company
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc

Music by
Eric Beheim
Jerome Hill
Irving Kaufmann
Neal Kurz
Donald Sosin
Lew White

Notes by
Kevin Brownlow
R. Bruce Elder
Walker Evans
Robert A. Haller
Jan-Christopher Horak
Scott MacDonald
Bruce Posner
David Shepard
Paul Spehr

Curated by Bruce Posner
Produced for DVD by David Shepard
Released by Image Entertainment

Sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main.
Made possible in part by Cineric, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Film Preservation Associates, Inc.

Storm ©1943 Loew’s, Inc.

Special Contents of this Edition © 2005 by Anthology Film Archives