Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema 57: Anti Art, a monthly screening of new finds, old gems and offbeat oddities from Oddball Films’ collection of over 50,000 film prints. Tonight, we present a very rare overlapping set of documentaries and short dada works by the most brilliant anti artists of he 20th century. The program is encyclopedic in content, spanning a wide rage of influential anti-establishment artists worldwide. We begin with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray’s stunning Anemic Cinema (1926), a visual cacophony of hypnotic puns, followed by Helmut Herbst’s An Alphabet of German DADAism (1968), a comprehensive A-Z examination of dadaists shot in true dadaist style with the cooperation of Hans Richter and Richard Hulsenbeck, featuring sound-artist Kurt Schwitters, satirist George Groz, Max Ernst and more followed by L’Etoile des Mer aka The Sea Star (1928) Man Ray’s haunting, dreamlike ode to subconscious sexual desire. We complete our program with Greta Deses’s Dada(1967), an astonishing profile of the dada movement featuring live performances, film excerpts, interviews and a live performance reenactment of the groundbreaking Cabaret Voltaire with Jean Arp playing the piano. This film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and features in-person appearances from Marcel Duchamp, a very rare and eye-opening interview with the legendary Man Ray and much, much more.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 558-8117
Germany-DADA: An Alphabet of German DADAism (Color and B+W, 1968)
Produced and directed by Helmut Herbst.
In post-World War I Zurich, out of the conflict's sobering aftermath, there was born an artistic movement that preached an anti-establishment, anarchistic, baffling, radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity. Ridiculing traditional ideas of form and beauty in the accepted arts, random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, the movement spread like revolt to America and across Europe, voicing the delightfully bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers. Featuring painter and sound artists like Kurt Schwitters, satirist George Groz, Hans Arp, Max Ernst and many, many influential figures in the movement. Filmed with the cooperation of original Dadaists Hans Richter and Richard Hulsenbeck, this unique motion picture collage of art, music and poetry is not only an alphabet of German Dadaism, but is in itself, a true Dadaist experience.
Directed by Greta Deses
Arp declared: “Tzara invented the word”. . . “on February the 6th 1916 at 18:00 hrs. I was there with my twelve children when Tzara pronounced the word for the first time. It was at the cafe de la Terrasse in Zurich and I had a bun in my left nostril.”
This brilliant (and rare) film celebrates 50 years of Dadaist art and cinema, featuring a discussion about the history and influence of Dadaism from leading German, French and English exponents including live appearances by Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Hans Richter, all considered some of the most influential and important artists of the 20th century. The film is peppered with film clips and examples of their works including a reenactment of a Cabaret Voltaire performance with Dadaist Jean Arp playing piano. A bizarre and brilliant documentary rarely seen since its premiere at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival.
Anemic Cinema (1926, B+W, Silent)
Directed by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray
“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.”
The only film to come from the founder of the Dadaism movement (artistic and literary movement from 1916-1923 “Anemic Cinema” is an abstract and annalistic film short containing rotating circles and spirals interlaced with spinning discs of words strung together in elaborate nonsensical French puns.
"Duchamp used the initial payment on his inheritance to make a film and to go into the art business. The film, shot in Man Ray's studio with the help of cinematographer Marc Allégret, was a seven-minute animation of nine punning phrases by his alter ego Rrose Sélavy. These had been pasted, letter by letter, in a spiral pattern on round black discs that were then glued to phonograph records; the slowly revolving texts alternate with shots of Duchamp's Discs Bearing Spirals, ten abstract designs whose turning makes them appear to move backward and forward in an erotic rhythm. The little film, which Duchamp called Anemic Cinema, had its premiere that August at a private screening room in Paris." -Calvin Tomkins
L’Etoile des Mer (B+W, 1928)
a.k.a. The Star of the Sea and The Starfish
Directed and written by Man Ray.
Based on a poem by Robert Desnos.
A classic of Surrealist cinema, Man Ray’s L’Etoile des Mer (Starfish) is a haunting, dreamlike ode to subconscious sexual desire, inspired by a poem from Robert Desnos and starring the iconic Kiki of Montparnasse.
"Some of the most complete and satisfying works of art have been produced when their authors had no idea of creating a work of art, but were concerned with the expression of an idea." - Man Ray.
"In the modernist high tide of 1920s experimental filmmaking, L’Etoile de Mer is a perverse moment of grace, a demonstration that the cinema went farther in its great silent decade than most filmmakers today could ever imagine. Surrealist photographer Man Ray’s film collides words with images (the intertitles are from an otherwise lost work by poet Robert Desnos) to make us psychological witnesses, voyeurs of a kind, to a sexual encounter. A character picks up a woman who is selling newspapers. She undresses for him, but then he seems to leave her. Less interested in her than in the weight she uses to keep her newspapers from blowing away, the man lovingly explores the perceptions generated by her paperweight, a starfish in a glass tube. As the man looks at the starfish, we become aware through his gaze of metaphors for cinema, and for vision itself, in lyrical shots of distorted perception that imply hallucinatory, almost masturbatory sexuality." - Donald Faulkner