Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film

Synopsis: What is experimental film, and why is it called that? Artists and poet working in celluloid since before WWI have always found themselves in a no man's land. Excluded both from the art world and from the film industry, they bodly created a grassroots network for making and showing their films. They also created a profound body of work that continues to influence our culture. I wanted to share a few of the films I love and introduce you some of the free, radicals artists who made them.
Director(s): Pip Chodorov
Production: Kino Lorber
 
IMDB:
6.9
Rotten Tomatoes:
86%
NOT RATED
Year:
2011
80 min
$3,804
Website
46 Views


These were our home movies.

Until one day, my dog peed on them.

I thought it looked cool!

It was the 60s:

peace, love, rock

'n' roll, hippies,

and experimental home movies.

I grew up watching films,

showing films, making films!

My dad worked for television,

his dad worked for Hollywood,

my mom painted every day...

My parents screened films

at home for their friends.

I saw all sorts of films.

My dad invited experimental

filmmakers onto his television show,

and he invited them and

their films into our home.

These days, most of my friends

and colleagues are filmmakers.

I wanted to shoot in the streets,

and I wanted a camera

that could take a knock.

You can do all kinds of

things with the Bolex,

but the Bell & Howell,

let's just push film through it.

Art has only one function

as far as the artist

himself is concerned:

that is to follow his visions.

I'm trying to paint the images

that flash through my mind,

that spark in my

hypnogogic vision...

Art can be anything,

and that's what produced

the "avant-garde".

I never made compromises and

really already a long time ago,

I didn't care anymore if

anyone likes it or not.

We did not think about history,

we were in the present, and we

were doing what we wanted to do.

We were friends, and we

were all crazy about cinema.

I filmed every day. I filmed

with friends, in school.

There were no rules.

We were totally free.

Images were everywhere.

Images were my life.

Images are still my life. And

my life is images, images...

Nobody's going to close

us, because we're crazy!

Arguably the greatest

city in the world...

Whether it's the greatest city

for experimental filmmakers

remains to be seen.

There were much better experiments being

done in Prague, in Paris, in Berlin,

long before there were

great filmmakers here.

But a half century ago, just

about a half century ago,

I started working in New

York for an arts series

where we did everything

we wanted to, every week.

We were in pre-production, production

and post-production every day.

It was difficult to put

experimental artists on television,

because television doesn't

like experimental film.

It's unpredictable;

sometimes it's a little edgy;

sometimes the filmmaker

obviously has something in mind

that the studio executives would rather

not be shown to an all-family public.

We were always told:

children are watching!

Be careful of what you

do! Children are watching!

He was right, I was watching!

This one fascinated me.

The screen was no longer a window

into a world but a flat surface,

and yet the squares seemed to

recede into a third dimension.

This is one of the first abstract

films ever made by Hans Richter in 1921.

I used to have pieces of

film of different formats,

just as a kind of a souvenir from

different film shoots that we did,

and I would bring them home and

you saw what film was all about.

It was like pieces of paper.

You had to work on it. I remember

you used to draw on film leader,

and scratch on film,

and paint on film.

A lot of other filmmakers have done this,

but you didn't know that at the time.

I was eight years old

when I met Hans Richter.

He lived not far from our house.

He was a painter but he

also played with film.

He was 85 when we

filmed him in 1973,

and I had the distinct feeling that he

was preparing himself for a summing up.

I just improvised, as I do in...

I give chance a chance, as I

do in painting, as I do in film.

That was the main credo of Dada:

the discovery of chance as

a possibility of expression.

I didn't know anything

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