Experimental Film

Saturday, September 25, 2010 2:03 PM By Simon

What makes a movie experimental, anyway? There are many reasons something can be so...is it experimental in relation to film as a whole, to the director, to the actor, to the cinematographer?

Le jetee is experimental because it toys with our ideas of film, sound, and image. Man With a Movie Camera does the same. Passion of the Christ is in three dead languages. The Straight Story is David Lynch's only straight story. Donnie Darko looks genre convetion in the face and laughs. Gerry is silence and shooting the shit, without hinting at a plot until it's too late. United 93 dares you to be offended. Ed Wood asks what it really is to be a bad director. Brick makes us sleuths. Dancer in the Dark offers the hopelessness of existence without one zombie or plague. The Boss of it All is Lars von Trier's only romantic comedy. The Lady from Shanghai is the only movie Rita Hayworth was ever blonde. In Limits of Control, so was Tilda Swinton. Salo gives political meaning to degradation. Pierrot le fou can't be bothered with that pesky fourth wall. Neither can Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Waking Life challenges dreams. A Scanner Darkly challenges hallucinations.

Horror movies make nightmares. Inception makes them sharp. Eraserhead makes them terrifying. A Nightmare on Elm Street makes them combative. Monsters Inc. makes them real.

The Jazz Singer was the first big sound film. Louis was the last big silent film. Citizen Kane gave us non-linear, but then, so did Reservoir Dogs.

Scent of Mystery gave us smell-o-vision. Earthquake sensursound. The Power of Love, 3-D. Hypnovision probably exists somewhere. Sebastiane was in Latin.

Was that enough pretensiousness for one day?

2 comments:

Neil Fulwood said...

Good choices, succinctly pinning down what makes each of them important in the history of cinema.

And don't worry, you'll never be truly pretentious while 'Sight and Sound' is still being published.

September 26, 2010 at 11:28 AM