Friday, 9 November 2012

Experimental films are full of strange mixtures of images, situations, words and expressions that may not tell a cohesive story but, in the end, don't have to in order to achieve an emotional goal. This type of film therefore requires the spectator to shift their conventional cinematic expectations to accommodate more radical narrative techniques, themes and meaning construction. 

Un Chien Andalou, the infamous 1929 surrealist short film from Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, attests to this.

Chris Marker became known internationally for the short film La Jetée (1962). It tells of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel by using a series of filmed photographs developed as a photomontage of varying pace, with limited narration and sound effects. Now add your personal response and discussion of spectatorship issues

Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is a work that maintains all of the mystery, tranquility, unpredictability, and personal attachment that is ever present within the world of dreams. As opposed to the more direct story-telling approach of most modern cinema; Meshes of the Afternoon applies it's meaning through the use of symbolism thus allowing spectator's to decode the meaning of what has been shown for themselves, sort of like the old silent hill games. The audience are never specifically told anything but instead are confronted with visual metaphors of the films themes and meanings; for example they are not informed of the mental state of the films female lead, instead this is symbolized by all sides of her fractured mind being portrayed as multiple versions of her, with each of her copies showing the extremes of multiple personality traits. Further symbolism is put forward in the form of the films male lead, who's mirror mask symbolized the attitudes towards gender politics at the time, where a woman was considered to be nothing more than a reflection of her man. The film seeks to destroy these ideals, ending with the woman's destruction of the man and his reflective mask, thus destroying that which separates her from her independence.

Meshes of the Afternoon also uses highly experimental techniques in the way in which it is put together; For Example, In modern cinema the ability to show one actor interacting with themselves on screen is not considered spectacular, modern technology has made this nothing more than a quick and inexpensive editing technique, however at the time of Meshes of the Afternoons release it would have been considered a revolutionary experimental technique of cinematography.