Shadow Worlds: Silent Experimental Films | Chicago Reader

Shadow Worlds: Silent Experimental Films

The truly silent cinema of avant-gardists requires no accompaniment—silence deepens the viewer's imaginative involvement. In Sidney Peterson's neosurreal The Cage (1947) an artist (played by two different actors) removes his eye in an attempt to stop seeing conventionally, and the result is a deranged romp through San Francisco that includes reverse motion, anamorphic squeezing, inanimate objects that move, and narrative ruptures. Stan Brakhage's spectacular hand-painted Stately Mansions Did Decree (1999) fills the screen with flickering shards of red and orange that present a universe ablaze with energy. Hollis Frampton's Poetic Justice (1972) uses jump cuts to show a film script being laid page by page on a table; the pleasure is in mentally picturing the impossibly extravagant imagery in the text, which parodies romantic excess. 62 min.

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