5 Dada And Surrealist Silent Films

Hello my little carts before the horse, I’ve still got a ton of editing to do so here are some original, silent Surrealist and Dada films. Toodle pip!

Entr’acte (1924)

Directed by Rene Clair (though multiple people worked on the project), this was first shown during the intermission of a Swedish ballet at the Theater of Champs Elysées in Paris. Erik Satie provided the music for this and the ballet on the night.

Jujiro (1928)

Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, Jujiro (Crossroads) was the most successful Japanese export to the West before Rashomon. Kinugasa belonged to the Dada and Surrealist influenced art collective Shinkankakuha (New Sensationalists).

I couldn’t find a copy with English subtitles, sorry!

The Life and Death of 9413 A Hollywood Extra (1928)

I’m fascinated by the dark side of Hollywood (aren’t we all?) so this might be my favourite. Directed by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić, the film was inspired by Florey’s own Hollywood experiences and features early use of Vorkapić’s film-making invention, the montage. Made in America, it was very successful.

The Seashell And The Clergyman (1928)

Touted now as the first surrealist film, Germaine Dulac’s film was overshadowed at the time by Un Chien Andalou, made a year later, and was not well received. Dulac’s films often featured feminist themes.

Emak Bakia (1926)

Man Ray is one of my favourite surrealists, possibly because of his amazing fashion photos. Kiki of Montparnasse (Alice Prin) makes an appearance, the artist’s model, nightclub singer, memoirist, painter and all round fabulous 1920s bohemian. Emak Bakia means Leave Me Alone in Basque.

Kiki of Montparnasse
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Merry Halloween! John Waters This Filthy World

It’s here! Later tonight I shall be watching Derren Brown and stuffing my face but until then here is something to amuse all you weirdos out there. It’s like that programme An Evening With, where the star shares charming anecdotes with the audience, except in this context it involves burlesque, horror, trash and cult cinema and fetishes. It’s very funny.

BE WARNED: Much of this is NOT for children. Do not watch if you’re under 18 (or whatever age you think it’s OK). Happy Halloween!!

John Waters This Filthy World (2006)

Surrealist Cinema Documentary Presented by David Lynch (BBC Arena 1987)

Hello my tiny emblems of creative pride!

Next week I shall be the busiest I have been since the last time I was really busy so, to make up for the fact that I may not be able to post, I shall share with you a documentary on Surrealist Cinema that was shown on the BBC in 1987 for a series called Arena. If you haven’t watched the others you should; there’s a great one on silent actress Louise Brooks and another on Japanese writer Yukio Mishima and his bizarre end. I am fascinated by a bizarre end, I can’t help it.

I notice he possibly didn’t have time to include Bunuel or Un Chien Andalou, but you can’t include everything.

So, here it is: David Lynch on Surrealist Cinema:

10 Scary (Or Funny) Short Horror Films For Halloween

The time approaches! That night where you invade someone’s house and move things around while they sleep so they wake up all confused and call the local papers and they come round and it all becomes a really famous case of haunting and you can’t admit it was you because it’s all gone too far so you have to just keep doing it.

To celebrate such a wondrous event I have searched the internet for tales of terror or humour to share with you all, because I’m like that.

I have no idea what’s going on in this UAE (United Arab Emirates) based film, but I quite liked the atmosphere. Cold Feet:

Funny and clever, this is a very entertaining five minutes. The Sleepover:

I wrote about the making of this film for a magazine and got to watch a scene being filmed (the doctor’s office). I also attended the wrap party where zombies carried trays of brightly coloured cakes. Annabelle’s Tea Party:

For an added bonus here’s a making of documentary:

There’s more than a touch of exam anxiety in this Korean tale. The Function:

This was shown as part of a series of shorts on channel 4 in the UK called Random Acts. It’s not strictly a horror but I think genre fans will definitely appreciate the humour. The Ting:

This mischievous short was based on a story called The Open Window by Saki. Read it if you haven’t yet. Certified:

The puppet masters have created another disturbing tale of kid’s songs and innards. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 5, Food:

1987 gothic short from Czech stop motion animator Jiří Bárta. The Last Theft:

I remember this Irish short from a film website in 2004 and it stuck with me. The Ten Steps: 

This Mexican film has a surprise in store. Luna:

4 modern films made in a vintage fashion

Everybody loved The Artist, it was sweet and entertaining, but there are a few more films invoking earlier cinematic styles that I’ve enjoyed just as much if not more. Let’s have a peek at these morsels of delight (I don’t know, it’s the meds).

1. The Saddest Music in the World. Guy Maddin tends to give all his films the look of the twenties or thirties, focusing particularly on German Expressionism. This is probably my favourite though because it’s very silly (intentionally) and Isabella Rossellini looks like she’s having a lot of fun.

It’s prohibition in America but Canada doesn’t need to worry about that (Guy Maddin is an enthusiastic Canadian). To advertise her company beer baron Isabella Rossellini decides to hold a contest to see which nation can play the saddest music in the world. An American takes part and proceeds to fill his songs with crass schmaltz and showy dances.

As a friend of mine said, it has all the enchantment of early cinema with modern daft humour, which is probably my favourite mix.

2. La Antena. An Argentinian film by Esteban Sapir, this heavily invokes directors like Fritz Lang and Luis Bunuel. It’s visually beautiful and enjoyable to watch, and is an interesting take on the subject of Fascism. An entire city has lost it’s voice, save for one woman and her son who she tries to keep a secret.

Apologies, couldn’t find a trailer with English subtitles:

3. Careful. Another offering from Guy Maddin, this is a little darker (though still silly of course) and tells the story of an Alpine village who must keep quiet to avoid the murderous and frequent avalanches.

This is two stories in one telling how isolation can lead to odd and incestuous thoughts. In the first it’s a son in love with his mother and the second a daughter with her father, although he appears to favour her sister. There are some very pretty touches, such as the coal miner’s candle helmet.

4. The Forbidden Zone. It’s probably the most out-there of all these offerings and is definitely not for children. There are one or two horrifically offensive things in it which I didn’t feel needed to be in there at all, but I’m not the film maker so what do I know eh?

However, this is essentially a live action Max Fleischer cartoon (of Betty Boop fame) and the songs are quite catchy, and the whole thing is so bizarre and odd and juvenile that you probably just need to let it wash over you. Directed by Richard Elfman, his brother Danny (you might know him) and his band Oingo Boingo did the music and pop up as the devil and his minions singing Minnie the Moocher. I think it’s at least entertainingly weird, and that’s probably all that matters.

The eerie and enchanting world of early cinema

Good afternoon and Merry New Year! Just a quick post to share with you some of my favourite vintage cinema films.

Not only were people excited by the idea that movement could finally be preserved, but their story telling imagination had free reign. Enjoy!

First is the 1897 film The Dancing Skeleton by the Lumiere Brothers:

Here’s the 1903 film Kingdom of Fairies by George Melies (of a Trip to the Moon fame):

Next is the jaunty (and possibly a little creepy) 1933 experimental musical animation The Peanut Vendor by Len Lye. Annoy your friends by singing it constantly!

Next up is dancer Lina Esbrard in a 1902 film by Alice Guy-Blache (yes, lady film makers existed):

And finally I leave you with another ‘spooky’ (but quite cute) offering by Melies, the 1903 film The Monster: