The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity: A Film by Guy Maddin

Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin made this short film which is inspired by an 1882 illustration by Odilon Redon that was in turn inspired by the writing of Edgar Allan Poe.  It has a kind of wild sinister fantasy about it that fascinates me.  I like the way Maddin builds little sets that end up looking almost like illustrations.  He also does a quick visual quote of a great old French film called L’Atalante by Jean Vigo.  This is a frightening and beautiful dream film.

 

The Heart of the World: A Film by Guy Maddin

The Echo Park Film Center tipped me off to this amazing short film by Guy Maddin. He made it in 2000 for the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s got the frenetic, montage energy of Sergei Eisenstein mixed with some of the fantastic elements of George Melies.  Just beautiful and wild.

Ménilmontant – 1926 French Film by Dimitri Kirsanoff

The film takes its name from a neighborhood in Paris. It was directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff and is considered to be his greatest work. It moves very quickly, using a montage technique that tells the story without a single intertitle.  It’s a riveting and powerful tale of disillusionment and violence.  The lead actress is wonderful and has some of the best eyes for silent film I’ve ever seen.

Roland’s Adventures in Wonderland – A Film by Istvan Horkay

Artist Istvan Horkay made this strangely mesmerizing film that combines Alice in Wonderland, the elephant man, 19th century theater, silent film, modern computer graphics, children’s illustration and digital readouts.  There are three films going on at the same time in a beautiful triptych.

Tribune-American Dream Picture – 1924 Surrealist Film Contest Winner

In 1924, the Oakland Tribune and American Theatre held a contest in which people submitted their dreams. The winning dreams got made into films and the dreamers won $25. This surreal piece came from a dream submitted by Mrs. L.L. Nicholson. It more closely resembles a dream than many films since then, including Hitchcock’s Spellbound.  It involves a couple on a trip and a missing baby.