The Little Mermaid: 1968 Soviet Animation of the Tale by Hans Christian Andersen


This is a beautiful 1968 Soviet adaptation of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ by Hans Christian Andersen. It was produced by the great Soyuzmultfilm studio. There are no subtitles. Just enjoy it as a brilliantly animated musical approach to a great tale.

The film begins with a busload of tourists sightseeing in Copenhagen. Then it moves to sea and our story begins…


1964 Bell Labs Film About How to Make Films with a Computer


This fascinating film was produced at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1964. It was made by Ken Knowlton to describe the use of computers to make animated films. The film itself was created entirely on a computer. This is a glimpse into the groundbreaking work that led to the computer graphics we all enjoy so frequently today. Knowlton was both an artist and a computer graphics programmer who developed several programming languages for producing bitmap animations.

Interestingly, Ken Knowlton worked closely with pioneering experimental filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek at the Bell Labs on many early computer animations. Vanderbeek is the subject of my prior post about his short film, ‘Science Friction.’


Western Italian Style: 1968 Spaghetti Western Documentary


This is a 1968 television documentary about the Italian film phenomenon known as the Spaghetti Western. These bold, violent, colorful movies took a dark and sometimes comic look at the western genre. In many cases, I think these films surpassed the American westerns they emulated by playing more loosely with the violence and morality that often made for a kind of stiffness in the American films. If you aren’t familiar with the full scope of the Spaghetti Western, it’s really amazing how many full length versions are available on YouTube.




Camera Eye: 1967 Film on Vietnam by Jean Luc Godard

Godard was asked to make a short piece on Vietnam as part of an omnibus film called ‘Far From Vietnam’ that was being edited by the great experimental filmmaker Chris Marker. He was unable to actually go there so he used film clips and shot himself looking through a 35mm camera. His voiceover connects the war in Vietnam to his own life and to social struggles going on in Paris. He makes a fascinating attempt to express the futility of making a film about the war without any real understanding of it.