Le retour a la raison (1923)

aka Return to Reason
Article 4253 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-20-2013
Directed by Man Ray
Featuring Kiki of Montparnesse
Country: France
What it is: Experiment in Dadaism

A succession of abstract images are shown.

Man Ray was a proponent of the Dadaist/Surrealist art movements of the first half of the twentieth century, and what we have here is his first foray into cinema. If the trivia on IMDB is correct, he made the film when he discovered that he was credited with the exhibition of a film at a Dadaist festival, and he threw this together so he would have something to present. Dadaism essentially was an anti-art movement that rejected meaning and reason in art, and relied on abstraction and absurdity; it was a reaction to the horrors of World War I. So what we have here is another abstract film, and as usual, these can be interesting but are hard to review, especially with Dadaism, which eschewed meaning. Nonetheless, I found this short quite enjoyable; it involves a few images actually taken with a camera (the lights of a carousel ride and shadows projected over a naked female torso) along with images created in a darkroom with various objects placed directly over the film itself. It has a certain kinetic energy, and does not run on too long, which is pretty important for these kinds of films.


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