5 Essential Experimental Films

1 One advantage of writing an article on experimental film as opposed to avant-garde film is that it automatically gives one much more leeway in terms of films to be selected as well as overall writing approaches. While €œavant-garde cinema€ can be regarded, by and large, as a distinct body of work with its own traditions, history, and critical literature, €œexperimental film€ is a rather more subjective and ambiguous category, and one that cuts across certain forms of commercial as well as avant-garde filmmaking. Hopefully this list will entice you to watch one or two€”or five€”of these essential experimental films...

5. Battleship Potemkin

T €œBattleship Potemkin€ (1925) is no longer my favourite Sergei Eisenstein film (I€™d take €œOctober€ or €œAlexander Nevsky€), but it is still the best place I know of to start thinking about Eisenstein. The film records the birth of revolutionary consciousness among the crew members of the battleship Potemkin, anchored at Odessa in 1905. The essence of cinema, Eisenstein has told us, is montage€”in a practical sense, editing; in the most general sense, the placing side-by-side of disparate elements€”and Eisenstein, putting side-by-side two sequences of images that illustrates the ideological notion of montage, illuminates and catalyses a technique that has long been meditated. P.S.: one of the greatest epiphanic moments in Eisenstein€™s films, I think, is the one in €œOctober€ (1927) where the image of Jesus is compared to Hindu deities, the Buddha, and the Aztec gods€”and that instantaneous transfiguration becomes, in effect, the motivating spirit of a great historical movement.

Godard and Bresson > Spielberg and Tarantino