An Optical Poem (1937)

aka Color Poem
Article 4631 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-15-2014
Directed by Oskar Fischinger
No cast
Country: USA
What it is: Abstract animation

Shapes dance while Liszt’s “Second Hungarian Rhapsody” plays.

I’ve encountered Fischinger before, and will most likely encounter him again before I’m all through. This exercise in experimental animation was actually commissioned by a major studio, namely MGM. In it, he did an abstract illustration of the above musical piece using paper shapes hanging on wires and shot in stop-motion fashion. Most of it is fairly abstract, but there are a few sequences which make it look as if we’re watching planets and stars dancing through outer space, and there’s one sequence that looks like a rocket passing through the cosmos, so on top of the abstract fantasy content, it might be possible to look at this one as having some science fiction content as well. Abstract animation is a matter of taste, but I did find certain sequences in this short to be quite hypnotic, and it feels like one of the more solid examples from this genre. Incidentally, the title entered my hunt list as COLOR POEM, but no IMDB search yielded that title; however, a little research on the credits pointed me to its proper title.


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