Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Your Favorite Avante-garde/Experimental Movies...


Recommended Posts

What are your favorite avante-garde/experimental movies???


Some of my favorites include...


H2O (1929) - a short 1929 silent film by photographer Ralph Steiner. It is a cinematic tone poem, showing water in its many forms. A fascinating movie.


Un Chien Andalou (1929) - Shocking! Scandalous! Fledging director Luis Bu?uel and painter Salvador Dali create this ultimate surrealist film, which is essentially a barrage of striking and irrational images, designed to shock and provoke. During the course of the film, we witness a close-up of a woman's eye being slashed open with a razor; a man dragging a piano, two bishops, and a pair of rotting donkeys across a room; ants swarming around a hole in a man's palm; and sundry severed limbs and gratuitous slayings. Though this was originally a silent film, Bu?uel later added a recorded score consisting of Liebestod from Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde and a number of popular tangos of the time.


A Trip to the Moon (1902) - If you have never seen this movie, you must be a space alien! This is the granddaddy of sci-fi films - the very first science fiction movie!!! It is a very odd movie, but an excellent one.


...and these are just a few.


What are YOUR favorite avante-garde/experimental movies???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOTS of favorites ---


"Blue" - Derek Jarman, 1993. At the time he made it he was dying of AIDS and had gone blind. The entire visual is a brilliant single screen of a rich blue color, with overlapping voices and sounds as he ruminates on his life, death, and things associated with the color blue. A completely unique and tragic final masterwork.


2003's "Tarnation" by Jonathan Caouette. He came from a home with a severely disturbed mother and was both gay and had severe emotional disorders. He also filmed his entire life with his own video camera, and this masterpiece is a surreal compilation of his entire life. When I saw this film at an early screening I was blown away. Its on DVD, do yourself a favor.


"Pink Narcissus" - James Bidgood's surreal fantasia from 1971, filmed almost entirely in his apartment.


John Waters' early works, from the shorts like "Hag in a Black Leather Jacket" and "Eat Your Makeup" through the features "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living" --- changed the course of popular culture.


"Superstar" by Todd Haynes --- the life of Karen Carpenter as performed by Barbie dolls. "Poison," "Safe," and "Far from Heaven" also wonderful, and "Poison" and "Safe" were hardly what you could describe as commercial.


"Eraserhead" - David Lynch.


"Querelle" - 1982 Fassbinder telling of the Genet story with Brad Davis. I still can't get Jeanne Moreau singing "Each Man Kills the Things He Loves" out of my head. If you aren't familiar with Fassbinder, a good place for classic movie fans to start is with "Veronika Voss" (also 1982). In that movie, you meet a UFA actress from the 30's who may or may not have had an affair with Goebbels during the Nazi days.


Lots of short films by Tom Rubnitz; I don't think these are available commercially anywhere. He did quirky films in the late-70's/early 80's in the downtown New York scene. He's most widely known for having directed the B-52's "Love Shack" video. He's no longer with us (and was a good friend).


The more commercial of the indy Warhol films, like "Trash." A lot of the Factory ones are just dull.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>Nicki (and CineMaven), I am 100% in agreement about "A Trip to the Moon."


CineMaven never said anything about that movie...


J. Stuart Blackton's surreal fantasy Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy (1909) is also one of my favorites. A part of what's fun about Princess Nicotine today is to watch and try to figure out how the amazing shots were created, while limited to early cinematic technology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't say I'm too familiar with the genre.


Un Chien Andalou - Have to agree. Even though you know it's a trick the razor in the eyeball still shocks. (The price I paid for that DVD still shocks also.)


I would add Jean Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet - a complete flight of fantasy takes place in the time a chimney supposedly falls.


Some of Dogme 95 - particularly The Ceremony - is of interest along with Lars Van Trier's The Five Obstructions.



Terry Wallace


Oh, Forgot Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre and El Topo. And - a guilty pleasure - Susan Seidelman's Smithereens.


Message was edited by: Terry_W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nicki (and CineMaven), I am 100% in agreement about "A Trip to the Moon."


CineMaven never said anything about that movie..

-----------------New Message---------------------


Hi Metropolis, I think Chip was trying to let Nick (and ME) know that he was in agreement that "A Trip to the Moon" was a fun film to watch. Thanx! ;-)


Now for "THE LETTER" (1940) on TCM in a few minutes. Aaaaah, Gale Sondergaard steals scenes from Bette without speaking a word of English. And Bette gave a great understated performance (I think).


As for the below foto...wouldn't Visine be a better solution?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

So many favorites...


Rabbit's Moon (Kenneth Anger)

Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren)

The Grandmother (David Lynch)

Orpheus (Jean Cocteau)

A Game With Stones (Jan Svankmajer)

Ecstasy in Entropy (Nick Zedd)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto)


Also, the work of Man Ray is interesting. Rather dizzying, but enjoyable none the less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen dozens of experimental films.


Here are a few more good ones:


Battery Film (1985): Images from New York City with sketch animation and haunting music.


OffOn (1968): The human eye, the human form, the human face: these are the three central images of this avant-garde collage and kaleidoscope of shifting and fractured images, changing colors, and pulsing rhythms. Near the end, a tree appears briefly, and birds fly - first white, then red and blue. Celtic knots morph from one to another. The images become Rorschach tests although the mood, driven by the rapid changing images and the soundtrack, remains frantic. It is most notable for being one of the first examples in which film and video technologies were combined.


The Critic (1963): Simple, abstract, geometric shapes move and morph on the screen to what sounds like harpsichord music. The voice of an audience member, who claims to be 71, complains through out most of the film despite being told repeatedly by other audience members to keep quiet. This was the very first Mel Brooks film!


Gumbasia (1955): Clay objects of all sizes, shapes and colors contort and reshape themselves to a jazz music score.


NOTE: Osamu Tezuka's short films are also good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantasia (1940) - Does this even need an explanation? ;)


Duck Amuck (1951) - A very famous surreal cartoon in the Looney Tunes series. It stars Daffy Duck, who is tormented by a sadistic, unseen animator who constantly changes Daffy's location, clothing, voice, physical appearance, and even shape. Pandemonium reigns throughout the cartoon as Daffy attempts to steer the action back to some kind of normality, only for the animator to either ignore him or, more frequently, to over-literally interpret his increasingly frantic demands.


What's Opera, Doc? (1957) - A surreal Looney Tunes opera cartoon. It is one of the most famous cartoons of all time.


Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) - A silent cartoon by J. Stuart Blackton. It features a cartoonist drawing faces on a chalkboard, and the faces coming to life. It is generally regarded as the first animated film. It features movements such as a dog jumping through a hoop. The film moves at 20 frames per second.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Cameraman's Revenge (1912) - The Cameraman's Revenge is an experimental silent animated comedy short film about infidelity among the insects (a topic which I dare say has never before or after been attempted on film). With a description like that, you can be sure there's no other film quite like it! The impressive animation alone would make this more than worthwhile, and the amusing story alone would make entertaining viewing for any fan of silent comedies. The animation is incredibly detailed and painstaking. The puppet insects are made to act in very 'human' ways, while retaining the accurate form of real insects. It looks much better than practically anything made by the CGI studios of the present time.


The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) - A brilliant adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's short story. The visual element dominates the film, including shots through prisms to create optical distortion. There is no dialog, though one part features letters moving across the screen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
  • Create New...