Media Studies Intro to Cinema

A blog

Avant Garde Film

Filed under: Uncategorized — Francesca Scaturro at 9:39 am on Sunday, December 4, 2011

 I am so glad that Professor Herzog decided to show us Avant Garde Film. I absolutely loved watching these films because they were so different, and showed us different perspectives on film-making. Some of them were a little dull, like Mothlight by Brakhage. I enjoyed hearing the audio of why he chose to do such a film more than the actual film itself. The experimental film that really intrigued me the most was Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). I really enjoyed this film because it took me away, and quite honestly gave me a good scare. The nun looking figure that keeps walking up the side of her house with a mirror as a face is such a clever way of portraying how strange things are in a dream. Although this is what creeped me out the most, it was one of the aspects of the movie which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the part when she is going up the stairs and it seems as if her world is turning sideways, because Deren did this so effectively just by tilting the camera to achieve the effect. In the video Deren was also very interesting to watch, as she goes through the dream state. There is so much repetition of the knives, and the same situation happening over and over again. The music is also VERY creepy. It gives the movie this creepy effect, especially because some of the sounds don’t go with what’s going on at the moment. Also the fact that we don’t get to see her face until a few minutes into the movie creates this curiosity and creepiness as to who it is that we are following. This film being about dreams, may just be a film done well enough to give me nightmares.  

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The other film that really impacted me was the documentary film made by the Maysle brothers about the Rolling Stones called Gimme Shelter . The short clip that we saw in class really impacted me. The clip showed how an Hells Angel stabbed a man to death because he had pulled out a gun while the Rolling Stones were presenting on stage. This clip just caught me by surprise because when you first see the footage of the fight going on, you initially don’t think anything of it, just another brawl. The Maysle brothers decide to stop showing the concert and zoom in on the footage and show McJagger what really went on in that little brawl in the audience and they captured an Angel stabbing someone. The reason why this footage impacted me so much was because we see the moment when a man’s life was taken. It’s scary to see how cold blooded the Hells Angel was about stabbing this man, but then again I can also understand that maybe he was just doing it in self defense since the man did have a gun. I think the fact that the Maysle brothers caught a moment on film is great, because that’s what film-making is about. That scene just took my breath away, and makes me tear a little bit to see that such someone’s murder was caught on film.

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