Tag Archives | Surrealism

5am Film Series: Un Chien Andalou

Un Chien Andalou is the first film that really got me interested in surrealist cinema. While not the first surrealist film (that goes to The Seashell and the Clergyman by Germaine Dulac), it is particularly notable due to Salvador Dali’s involvement.

The film, directed by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, has minimal plot in which the characters exist in a dreamlike world. It was Buñuel’s directorial debut.

If you’d like to explore surrealism in cinema further, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon is another favorite of mine.

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Jodorowsky 1.0

Jodo

Nashville, TN is experiencing a Alejandro Jodorowsky renaissance this month with the Belcourt Theatre’s screenings of some of the auteur’s most important works, leading up to the local premiere of his new film, Dance of Reality.

My fellow local film writers and I all respect the master’s outlandish visuals, his passion for the surreal and his esoteric spiritual explorations, but, of course, his movies aren’t for everyone. After last week’s screening of The Holy Mountain I kept thinking about the film — I’ve watched it many times and this most recent viewing was the second time I’d seen it on the big screen. I came away wondering if I’d seen any other films that paved the way for Jodorowsky, and while early surrealist cinema certainly deserves a nod, if you want to know where Jodo’s roots really dig in, you have to look to the stage, not the screen.

Here’s what the Mutantspace site has to say about Jodorowsky’s Melodrama Sacramental performance piece from 1965…

Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s ‘Melodrama Sacramentral’ was a happening presented by his group, The Panic Movement at the Paris Festival of Free Expression in 1965.Read the rest

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The Failed Smell Concert Of Sadakichi Hartmann

sadakichiMovies and music are filled with sight and sound, but when will humanity master the expressive and exploratory power of the other senses? The Believer on an ill-fated pre-Surrealist attempt to transport a theater full of people to Japan via a series of perfumes projected by fan:

In the fall of 1902, when he was around thirty-five years old, the papers announced that Mr. Sadakichi Hartmann, the eccentric art critic, would present a short performance entitled “A Trip to Japan in Sixteen Minutes.” The piece was described as a “melody in odors.”

The turn of the twentieth century saw a flurry of sense experimentation. The color organ was patented in 1895, an instrument with colored panels that lit up and changed in time to music. A few years later, one of the first electric organs, the Telharmonium, would have its debut in a specially built concert hall in New York.

The perfume concert was the featured event on a bill of a casual Sunday pop, held at the enormous entertainment complex known as the New York Theatre.

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Bauhaus Surrealist Prisons Of The Spanish Civil War

prisonNot that I condone mental torture, but there is something appealing about anarchists using modern art as a weapon against the fascist war machine. From the Guardian archives:

A Spanish art historian has uncovered what was alleged to be the first use of modern art as a deliberate form of torture — mind-bending prison cells were built by anarchist artists 65 years ago during the country’s bloody civil war.

Bauhaus artists, as well as the surrealist Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells built in Barcelona and elsewhere.

Most were the work of an enthusiastic French anarchist, Alphonse Laurencic, who invented a form of “psychotechnic” torture, according to the research of the historian Jose Milicua.

Mr Milicua’s information came from a written account of Laurencic’s trial before a Francoist military tribunal. Laurencic, a painter, created his so-called “coloured cells” as a contribution to the fight against General Franco’s rightwing rebel forces.

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The Explosive Pop Art Cinema Of Pramod Pati

Avant-garde filmmaker Pramod Pati created luscious, poetic, beautifully-scored short films on behalf of the Indian government (sometimes with social-educational purposes such as promoting family planning). Highlights include Abid, below, and 1968's symbolism-rich Explorer. The Seventh Art provides some background:
Pramod Pati, who died an untimely death at the age of 42, worked for the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, which commissioned feature-length and short documentaries as well as short animation films for the purposes of cultural archiving and nationwide information dissemination. The documentaries generally consisted of profiles of artistes practicing traditional forms, educational films for adults, and simple moral tales and basic literacy courses for children. Although there was an obvious restriction on the type of subjects filmmakers can choose, the Films Division, like the Kanun in Iran, was free from commercial concerns and thus presented a higher scope for formal experimentation for directors.
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A Question of Art, Aesthetic, and a Body of Work

From an interview with The Dharma of Don, talking with fellow indie author and artist Curcio about the ins and outs of writing, publishing, collaborative artwork and art collectives, and everything in-between!

Don: The Words of Traitors is published under Mythos Media which is your imprint, if I am not mistaken. What other houses have you published under, and have you succeeded with Mythos Media where you felt you struggled with branding under your own name?

James: My first book was released through New Falcon Press, who published Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardi — it was because of them I think that I got branded an “occult author” although that isn’t really entirely accurate. I’ve worked on several books since then that have been released by Weaponized, which is a UK based imprint.

You will see most of those books also on the Mythos Media website.… Read the rest

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I Talk to My Haircut

I have no idea what this is all about but I can tell you this:  The Reverend Fred Lane is either a mad genius or in need of serious psychiatric medication. His album From the One That Cut You is loaded with dada/surreal/ schizophrenic lyrics sung over equally unstable and psychotic R&B music. Just look at the cover alone:  the crazy writing, band-aids, dinosaur glasses, and handlebar mustache. Hear the madness for yourself.  Here's I Talk to My Haircut.
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