In the form of a “small theater of the world”, a history of the world from its beginnings to our day, including the errors, the incompetence, the thirst for power, the fear, the madness, the cruelty and the commonplace, in a story of five episodes.
During the ’50s Makavejev began making short films and documentaries in the Zagreb and Belgrade studios, as in Kino Klub Beograd, the center of avant-garde film and amateur activities during the ’60s in Serbia. The experimental and documentary impulse remains powerful in Makavejev’s work, as does the tendency to intercut undigested segments from other films into longer works. At the same time, those early works would be the first of many run-ins with the censors that would plague his career and, arguably, keep him from being recognized as a major postwar film artist.
An animated experimental short film using charcoal and pastels to create Cubist and Art Deco-inspired designs evoking the curiosity, grace and beauty of two cats in constant motion.
Filmed in a middle school gymnasium in suburban Japan, Goshogaoka takes as its ostensible subject the exercise routines and drills of a girls basketball team. The film consists of six ten-minute takes, shot with a fixed camera at court level, in which the various cadences of chanting voices and bodily movements digress into distinct studies. Taken together they construct a subtle and multi-layered social portrait, a portrait framed within a study of choreographed movements (the routines, etc.) and therefore one in which documentary values soon become inseparable from aesthetic ones.
Shûji Terayama’s debut feature Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets, an adaptation of his eponymous novel and play, is a playful, energetic, psychedelic, visually hypnotic critique of contemporary Japanese society’s descent into ruthless materialism. The story focuses on a teenager in hopeless search of identity within a highly dysfunctional family and a fractured world that both threaten to devour the boy—demanding everything and not really caring at all. A masterpiece of subversive cinema.
An experimental, ludicrous, plotless, absurd, surreal comedy. It is seemingly intentionally impossible to understand. It leaps from scene to scene, world to world, with recurring names and actors being the only things that hold it together. Very much like sketch comedy, except without much of a point. The movie literally goes from “Moment To Moment”, with no actual narrative in mind rather than to just film a bunch of miscellaneous scenes and ideas and cut them together. Make of it what you will.
On stormy night in an ugly urban landscape, Ciro Norte, a scientist with wild hair and thick glasses, straps himself to a chair he’s has fashioned with wires: lightening strikes, convulsing him. It seems his experiment has not worked. The next day, he drives his jalopy to a bar, sits alone, and weeps. But suddenly, a vortex sucks him into a dream state where he wanders, escapes man-eating fish, confronts his doppelganger, walks through a field of giant flowers, and comes upon Venus herself, buried up to her shoulders in sand.
Two narrators, one seen and one unseen, discuss possible connections between a series of paintings. The on-screen narrator walks through three-dimensional reproductions of each painting, featuring real people, sometimes moving, in an effort to explain the series’ significance.