BALLET MECANIQUE (1924)
Article 5168 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Fernand Leger and Dudley Murphy
Featuring Fernand Leger, Dudley Murphy, Katherine Murphy
What it is: Early experimental film
Putting down a plot description for this type of film is useless. It is basically a cascade of images, some animated, some abstract, some concrete but used in abstract ways. The emphasis is on movement, rhythm and repetition; an image of a woman carrying a bag up a flight of stairs becomes something other than mundane if repeated on a rhythmic loop. One of the animated segments looks like a cubist’s version of Charlie Chaplin, and we get visions of a woman swinging from some unsettling angles. As always, these abstract films become fantasies by dint of the fact that they are simply not realistic. This won’t convert anyone not fond of experimental films, but those with a bent for non-linear abstraction should enjoy this one.