The March of the Machines (1927)

aka La marche des machines
Article 4212 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-25-2013
Directed by Eugene Deslaw
No cast
Country: France
What it is: Abstract machinery montage

Imagery of machinery in motion is shown.

It’s a shame that the copy I found of this short on YouTube didn’t have a musical soundtrack; its images of machines in motion should inspire a creative one. It might even help me like this short more than I do. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but I do think that an abstract short like this will only really work if it taps into a certain type of visual magic that transcends the mere editing together of images that makes the whole somehow greater than the sum of its parts. Though the editor does have a decent feel for which images to match up, the only time it really transcends itself is in a shot of a pair of machine arms that end up looking like clutching human hands, easily the most striking moment in the short. The rest of it feels merely cute. I’m also not quite sure if I can call this short genre or not. The emphasis on machinery and technology gives it a science fictional air, but that’s undercut by the fact that all of the machinery existed at the time of its making. And it doesn’t quite reach the level of abstraction to make it a fantasy by default. So let’s classify it as a marginal curiosity.

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