Introduction: Thomas Tode, Hamburg
In the summer of 1929, the tradition-shattering Werkbund (German Work Federation) exhibition “Film und Foto” took place in Stuttgart. The camera revealed itself as key to an expanded perception and mediator of new views. With regards to photographic and cinematic experiments, Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”) and Neues Sehen (“New Vision”) became the epitome of avant-garde production. For the first time, the fact that film played a key role for the 20th century was recognized and manifested. The photo selection in the German Room was chosen by Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy, in the Russian Room El Lissitzky put the photographs in open frames reminiscent of film strips and, right next to this, had clips of Soviet classics screened in loops on overhead projectors. Here, the way in which both media was presented on an equal level had been realized in a modern dispositive for the first time. A film programme with 15 special screenings compiled by Hans Richter was presented at Stuttgart’s Königsbau Cinema. Both exhibition and films toured around the world: In Zurich, Berlin, Gdansk, Vienna, Agram, Munich, Tokyo, and Osaka. Now, it was obvious that there was something else alongside the film industry. Here, the film had been perceived as a form of art. A selection of films from back then on the occasion of its 90th anniversary.
Deutschland 1922-25, 12:00 Min.
In Walter Ruttmann’s colour-restored trilogy Opus II-IV cone-shaped forms slide to and fro, dance across the surface in vertical squares, lines, and waves, getting smaller and bigger and zebra-like blinds open and close, destined to erase each other. Music: Hanns Eisler. Bauhaus agent Lore Leudesdorff was involved in Opus III and IV.
Frankreich 1924, 22:00 Min.
The Dadaist „filler“ Entr’acte features images that disassemble, go backwards or dance in slow motion: a sombre funeral procession lead by a camel keeps accelerating so the funeral guests have to speed up to keep the pace. Music: Eric Satie. “Entr’acte” means Interlude, intended as a filmic intermittence for the Dada ballet Relâche which was presented on stage in 1924.
Deutschland 1925, 6:00 Min.
The film promotes the „Cinema and Photo Exhibition“ in Berlin by skillfully combining the process of creating a film and the topic “man and machine”. With the help of found footage and sophisticated animation techniques (split screen and multiple exposure among others), it demonstrates the creation of film art – from the “Magic Cylinder” via film reels cutting loose to copy machines.
Frankreich 1923/25, 9:00 Min.
In this film, the camera comes racing out of the Metro onto a bridge over the river Seine, jumps on a boat and whirls on the rollercoaster of a fun fair. Long live the fascination of movement.
Joris Ivens, Mannus Franken
Niederlande 1929, 12:00 Min.
This film explores the visual appearances of a heavy shower in the city while Hanns Eisler’s delicate music imitates the rain cadence in numerous ways. The poetry is created without narration or psychology but – almost like an abstract film – responding to nothing but the dramaturgy of nature: sun, wind, first drops, lashing water, whirls, constant rain, return of the sun.
Frankreich 1925/26, 9:00 Min.
A radical cinematic experiment. The title is an anagram, i.e. the letters of the first word Anémic turn into the second word with different meaning, Cinema, when rearranged. The “bloodless film” consists of nine discs featuring spiral-shaped texts and ten optical spirals which Duchamp circles in hypnotic ways: the surface of the screen in stark contrast to the illusionist depth of the spirals.
Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy
Frankreich 1924, 14:00 Min.
This film mainly operates with industrially manufactured machine parts and objects in rhythmic movements, treats even human bodies like objects and choreographs them to a great mechanical ballet. George Antheil accompanies with sounds of sirens, bells, plane propellers and 16 sychronised nickelodeons playing at a speed so high it could never be produced by humans.