SYMPHONIE MECANIQUE (1956)
Article 5441 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jean Mitry
No human cast
What it is: Short Experimental film
Modern music plays while machines operate.
We’re returning to the world of experimental film again, and I’m not sure this one even really qualifies for the series; though there is an emphasis on technology, I don’t think it ever crosses over into the realm of science fiction. It amounts to watching various machines operate while avant-garde music plays on the soundtrack. Many of these experimental films are interesting to look at, but often I can’t find anything to say about them; this one is an exception. One of the things that struck me was there was a certain similarity to the music and the machines at work; both share the trait of having a rhythm, and that’s what I think this film taps into. It’s actually a bit hypnotic watching these machines at work, and at moments they stop feeling like machines and start feeling organic, a feeling that gets a bit ominous before it’s all over. So maybe the film taps into that same fear of technology that was touched upon by much of the science fiction cinema of the era. I liked this one, but once again, if you don’t care for experimental film, you probably won’t care for this one.