A Not-Redundant-At-All Short Film Viewing Log for 2006

  • 145. (21 Dec) Pony Glass (1997, Lewis Klahr)
  • 144. (21 Dec) Altair (1994, Lewis Klahr)
  • 143. (21 Dec) /Lulu/ (1996, Lewis Klahr)
  • 142. (2 Dec) The Blacksmith (1922, Buster Keaton & Mal St. Clair)
  • 141. (28 Nov) Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958, Roman Polanski)
  • 140. (27 Nov) Break Up the Dance (1957, Roman Polanski)
  • 139. (27 Nov) The Big Shave (1967, Martin Scorsese)
  • 138. (27 Nov) It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964, Martin Scorsese)
  • 137. (27 Nov) What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963, Martin Scorsese)
  • 136. (19 Nov) Star in the Night (1945, Don Siegel)
  • 135. (9 Nov) Signal Decay (2006, M. Pierce & S. Boyle)
  • 134. (6 Nov) A Man and His Dog Out for Air (1957, Robert Breer) {Endearing, lovely bit of animagic.}
  • 133. (6 Nov) Bar Fight (2006, Christy Karacas & Stephen Warbrick) {Has the anarchic energy -- not to mention the blithe disregard for anatomy -- of prime Bill Plympton. Quite a bit of fun, this one.}
  • 132. (6 Nov) Space War (1997, Christy Karacas) {Who got shot in the what now?}
  • 131. (1 Nov) Lulu (1996, Lewis Klahr) {Odd, fun; another look will be needed before I decide where I stand on this.}
  • 130. (24 Oct) Windows (1975, Peter Greenaway) {Brief, tongue-in-cheek early work that points towards Greenaway's lifelong fascination with numbering, organization and death. More important as a developmental step than interesting, but important it is.}
  • 130. (22 Oct) When the Deal Goes Down (2006, Bennett Miller) {If this wasn't Bob freakin' Dylan, people likely wouldn't give two farts about this overgrown, overdirected music video, and it certainly wouldn't be getting theatrical play at the IFC Center. Also, the ubiquitous Scarlett Johannson officially needs to take a break or something -- I think she just accepted the lead role in my bowl of cereal tomorrow morning.}
  • 129. (19 Oct) /The Meaning of Life/ (2005, Don Hertzfeldt) {Don goes trippy!}
  • 128. (19 Oct) /Billy's Balloon/ (1998, Don Hertzfeldt) {Funnier than I remember it being, but I still think the cruelty overwhelms the thinness of the concept.}
  • 127. (19 Oct) /Lily and Jim/ (1997, Don Hertzfeldt) {A small masterwork of awkwardness.}
  • 126. (19 Oct) /Genre/ (1996, Don Hertzfeldt) {Riffing on "Duck Amuck" takes balls, but this hilarious short -- made while Don was still a college student! -- shows its maker to possess big brass ones.}
  • 125. (19 Oct) /Ah, L'Amour/ (1995, Don Hertzfeldt) {A cheap one-joke affair, but still pretty funny.}
  • 124. (19 Oct) /Rejected/ (2000, Don Hertzfeldt) {WAAAAAAAHHH!}
  • 123. (10 Oct) Intervals (1969, Peter Greenaway) {Rhythmic short that showcases Greenaway's oft-overlooked playful streak, in full flower even at this early stage.}
  • 122. (3 Oct) Un Couple D'Artistes (1970, Bruno Gantillon) {A real log-sawer, even with the eleventh-hour swerve into the macabre.}
  • 121. (24 Sep) The Pit, the Pendulum and the Hope (1983, Jan Svankmajer) {One of Jan's most obscure and least interesting endeavors.}
  • 120. (20 Sep) Down to the Cellar (1983, Jan Svankmajer) {Essentially, it's Svankmajer's Alice in nascent form. Which is still pretty awesome.}
  • 119. (15 Sep) /Ten Second Film/ (1965, Bruce Conner)
  • 118. (15 Sep) /Report/ (1967, Bruce Conner)
  • 117. (15 Sep) /The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia/ (1990, Jan Svankmajer)
  • 116. (15 Sep) Dimensions of Dialogue (1982, Jan Svankmajer) {Thrilling metaphorical examination of the finer points of communication and idea exchange.}
  • 115. (15 Sep) /Flora/ (1989, Jan Svankmajer)
  • 114. (15 Sep) /Meat Love/ (1989, Jan Svankmajer)
  • 113. (14 Sep) /Meat Love/ (1989, Jan Svankmajer)
  • 112. (14 Sep) Flora (1989, Jan Svankmajer) {I get the feeling that this used to be part of something larger.}
  • 111. (10 Sep) Pièce Touchée (1989, Martin Arnold) {Kaleidoscopic study in frustrated desires is intermittently interesting, especially near the end when the picture starts flipping around like a kung-fu fighter after five lattes, but I can't shake the feeling that this is just gimmicky formalism. I'm not quite sold on Arnold, but maybe his other films can change my mind.}
  • 110. (8 Sep) /Ten Second Film/ (1965, Bruce Conner)
  • 109. (8 Sep) /Report/ (1967, Bruce Conner)
  • 108. (5 Sep) We Work Again (1937, no director credited) {Dull rah-rah-America information/propaganda short about the WPA's efforts to find work for black people... until the astonishing last five minutes, in which we're treated to the climax of Orson Welles's mythical production of "Voodoo Macbeth." I would sell my firstborn to see this thing in its entirety.}
  • 107. (3 Sep) An Eastern Westerner (1920, Hal Roach) {Modest Harold Lloyd short.}
  • 106. (10 Aug) Bumping into Broadway (1919, Hal Roach) {Harold Lloyd's spry athleticism gets a workout in this frantic, hilarious short.}
  • 105. (8 Aug) Cops (1922, Edward Cline & Buster Keaton) {A master class in the art of the chase leading up to a final shot that surprises with its melancholy.}
  • 104. (1 Aug) /Report/ (1967, Bruce Conner)
  • 103. (31 Jul) Report (1967, Bruce Conner) {Oh. Damn. Perfectly captures the sense of confusion, helplessness and horror that encapsulates That Day in Dallas. Someday someone will make a film like this in response to 9/11, and I'll be hiding under my couch when I watch it.}
  • 102. (31 Jul) The White Rose (1967, Bruce Conner) {I don't think I understood this one. Looks great, though.}
  • 101. (31 Jul) /Breakaway/ (1966, Bruce Conner)
  • 100. (31 Jul) Breakaway (1966, Bruce Conner) {The world's best music video! Seriously, this film sees Conner assimilating two 'low' forms of culture for which I have an affection (the burlesque short and '60s pop music) and creating something amazing out of them. How could I not love this?}
  • 099. (31 Jul) /Ten Second Film/ (1965, Bruce Conner)
  • 098. (31 Jul) Vivian (1965, Bruce Conner) {The world's first music video!}
  • 097. (31 Jul) /A Movie/ (1958, Bruce Conner) {Okay, NOW I get it. Connor picks up where Cornell left off. It's pretty friggin' awesome.}
  • 097. (31 Jul) Ten Second Film (1965, Bruce Conner) {Between this and "Eye Myth," I'm thinking that there need to be a whole lot more really, really short movies.}
  • 096. (24 Jul) /La Jetee/ (1962, Chris Marker) {Extraordinary.}
  • 095. (23 Jul) The Wall (1962, Walter de Hoog) {Impassive but impactful; not quite the "Night and Fog"-level film it wants to be, but it's a'ight.}
  • 094. (22 Jul) /Rejected/ (2000, Don Hertzfeldt) {WAAAAAAAHHH!}
  • 093. (20 Jul) Bimbo's Initiation (1931, Dave Fleischer) {Frantic psychosis, a nightmare in ink and paint. Why aren't mass-market cartoons today this mind-blowing?}
  • 092. (20 Jul) Wintercourse (1962, Paul Sharits) {Mundanity splintered into unreadability; don't know if I'd recommend it, but I'm glad I saw it. Might move into recommended territory if I ever see it through a medium other than YouTube, a.k.a. The Pixelation Palace.}
  • 091. (19 Jul) /Rose Hobart/ (1936, Joseph Cornell) {Even better upon second viewing; it's clear to me that there's some sort of fractured-persona thing going on here (two Roses!), but then that's the beauty of experimental cinema -- any interpretation can be valid if you can defend it well enough.}
  • 090. (19 Jul) The Autobiography of a Jeep (1943, Irving Lerner) {Silly, harmless WWII propaganda.}
  • 089. (17 Jul) The Land Beyond the Sunset (1912, Harold Shaw) {Well-crafted and terribly dull, at least until its bizarre coda, which is reminiscent of the supposedly-happy ending of "AI."}
  • 088. (15 Jul) /Rejected/ (2000, Don Hertzfeldt) {WAAAAAAAHHH!}
  • 087. (6 Jul) Thanatopsis (1962, Ed Emshwiller) {Creepy portrait of movement altered to where it appears alien. Betcha Chris Cunningham has seen this a whole buncha time.}
  • 086. (5 Jul) Interior New York Subway, 14th St. to 42nd St. (1905, G.W. Bitzer) {Cinema's first five-minute tracking shot! Or at least it would be if it weren't for that splice at 2:20. Historically important, but not all that interesting if you've ridden the line it's filming. Or any subway ever, for that matter.)
  • 085. (5 Jul) Glimpse of the Garden (1957, Marie Menken) {It is what it says it is.}
  • 084. (5 Jul) Caicedo, King of the Slack Wire (1894, W.K.L. Dickson) {So does that.}
  • 083. (5 Jul) Luis Martinetti, Contortionist (1894, W.K.L. Dickson) {That looks painful.}
  • 082. (5 Jul) Rose Hobart (1936, Joseph Cornell) {Cornell refines the Kuleshov Experiment, makes a marvel of cinema out of dross in the process.}
  • 081. (4 Jul) Fine Feathers (1933, Jules White) {Like stumbling across a long-lost pilot for "The World's Funniest Animals." That's not a good thing.}
  • 080. (29 Jun) I'm Insured (1916, Harry Palmer) {Interesting in how it makes an asset of its limited animation and how the opening sequence shows how much work goes into something even this crude; otherwise, enjoyable but cheesy.}
  • 079. (25 Jun) Hair (2006, Jang Jun-Hwan) {An improvement over the director's atrocious "Save the Green Planet!" but I'm still repulsed by this guy's approach to cinema. Something about Jang's simultaneous embracing and mocking of the paranoid-violent-loser character, not to mention his tonal psychosis, makes it difficult to take his work seriously and I think he just shouldn't make movies until he grows the hell up.}
  • 078. (17 Jun) /The Heart of the World/ (2000, Guy Maddin) {This film is reason number one why the big screen is better than video -- I couldn't keep up with this the first time I saw it on the Sundance Channel. Seeing it blown up large finally enabled me to espy the genius that had eluded me. Guy Maddin is unstoppable.}
  • 077. (30 May) A Movie (1958, Bruce Conner) {I think that I shall watch this again and try to actually pay abloodyttention. It's the kind of film I would like if I wasn't on the verge of falling asleep.}
  • 076. (29 May) The Peaches (1964, Michael Gill) {Dry, hilarious curio pitched halfway between absurdism and Swinging-London piss-take. My only fear is that this is meant to be serious; viewing the film, I can't see how that could be, but then you never know with the British. A great watch, at any rate.}
  • 075. (24 May) Images from the Qatar Dynasty (1992, Mohsen Makhmalbaf) {I think I should learn something about Iranian history if this is going to make sense to me. Pretty pictures, at any rate.}
  • 074. (24 May) The School That Was Blown Away (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf) {Affectless vignette, inoffensive but residing on the line between realism and pointlessness; the shouting kid is a major irritant.}
  • 073. (23 May) The House is Black (1963, Forugh Farrokhzad) {A study of grace and commonality in a seemingly aberrant world; poetic and crushing.}
  • 072. (23 May) Blutrausch (1998, Thorsten Fleisch) {So similar to Brakhage's "Mothlight" that it hardly seems worth the effort (or the blood). The sound mix is interesting, though.}
  • 071. (23 May) Broken Down Film (1985, Osamu Tekuza) {"Decasia" meets "Duck Amuck" and it's fucking hilarious. I'm finding that I really love meta-films, especially if they're playful like this one.}
  • 070. (22 May) White Fawn's Devotion (1910, James Young Deer) {So because this garbage is directed by and stars American Indians, I'm supposed to pat it on the back? Sorry, not buying it.}
  • 069. (22 May) My Dad is 100 Years Old (2006, Guy Maddin) {Rather straightforward by Maddin's standards, which means it's still wild and weird. Also quite heartfelt; thanks, Isabella. Your dad should be proud.}
  • 068. (21 May) George Dumpson's Place (1965, Ed Emshwiller) {Makes a case for the urban scavenger as avant-garde artist -- not sure I'm convinced, but it's not boring, either.}
  • 067. (8 May) Rough for Theatre I (2000, Kieron J. Walsh) {Intermittently interesting, but there's a certain sadism in making Beckett's thick prose even more difficult to parse by filtering it through thick Irish accents. The ending is abrupt, to say the least.}
  • 066. (7 May) The Thieving Hand (1908, J. Stuart Blackton) {Funny bit of early slapstick surrealism. Imagine "The Hands of Orlac" as a knockabout comedy and you're almost there.}
  • 065. (2 May) I, Uschi (197?, no director credited) {You'd figure a woman photographed naked as often as Ms. Digart had been would know how to perform a proper striptease. You'd figure wrong, oh so very wrong. Also: worst sound since Seduction Cinema pissed all over Joe Sarno's "Roxanna."}
  • 064. (1 May) Uschi Meets Dracula (197?, no director credited) {Meanwhile, my patience for this kind of breast-centric filmmaking meets its limit.}
  • 063. (30 Apr) Cologne (1939, Raymond & Esther Dowidat) {Homespun piece of Americana, and charming in its small-town unnassuming way, right down to the handwritten title cards masquerading as 'diary entries.' Screw flag-waving -- this is the kind of stuff that make me feel good about America.}
  • 062. (29 Apr) The Confederate Ironclad (1912, Kenean Buel) {Standard Civil War stuff.}
  • 061. (26 Apr) What the Daisy Said (1910, D.W. Griffith) {Piffle, and minor Griffith.}
  • 060. (25 Apr) The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber) {EXPRESSIONISM! YAY! This is far superior, in my eyes, to the same year's overrated Jean Epstein feature adaptation.}
  • 059. (25 Apr) Three American Beauties (1906, Wallace McCutcheon & Edwin S. Porter) {COLOR! YAY!}
  • 058. (25 Apr) The Gay Shoe Clerk (1903, Edwin S. Porter) {EDITING! YAY!}
  • 057. (25 Apr) Blacksmith Scene #1 (1893, William K.L. Dickson) {Get your Lumiere on.}
  • 056. (25 Apr) Play (2000, Anthony Minghella) {The film "Not I" should be: a film where the rapid-fire logorrhea actually has a point. Formally more interesting as well -- Minghella's Brechtian approach to the filming lends an interesting dimension to the title.}
  • 055. (25 Apr) Not I (2000, Neil Jordan) {First, the words: Is this supposed to be about what happens when speech loses its meaning, a la Ionesco? Because otherwise, I'm not sure what Beckett's getting at. Second, the film: Even if the script had made sense as something other than a study in speech rhythm, Julianne Moore's hopeless performance would still ruin it. This isn't acting -- it's recitation.}
  • 054. (18 Apr) OffOn (1969, Scott Bartlett) {"Whadaya mean you don't have any acid? How else am I supposed to watch this damn film?"}
  • 053. (16 Apr) /Rejected/ (2000, Don Hertzfeldt) {WAAAAAAAHHH!}
  • 052. (15 Apr) Opening Night (1930, Roy Mack) {Silly but short -- any longer and I may have gotten annoyed.}
  • 051. (12 Apr) Tramway (1966, Krzysztof Kieslowski) {Has the same basic message and length as the James Blunt song "You're Beautiful". The only difference is that this is great and Blunt's song is histrionic crud.}
  • 050. (12 Apr) Rubber Johnny (2005, Chris Cunningham) {Geeet funky!}
  • 049. (11 Apr) The Original Movie (1922, Tony Sang) {Disarming slice of low-tech animation wizardry, and possibly the first example of self-loathing Hollywood cynicism.}
  • 048. (10 Apr) Private Snafu: "Spies" (1943, Charles M. Jones) {Wild, wacky bit of WWII propaganda from the Looney Tunes crew. The racial stereotyping is unfortunately but understandable in context.}
  • 047. (10 Apr) Princess Nicotine, or The Cigarette Fairy (1909, J. Stuart Blackton) {I should probably watch this again when I'm not burnt out from a sixteen-hour work day.}
  • 046. (4 Apr) A Summer Dress (1996, Francois Ozon) {Sensuous and cheeky short about one young man's fluid sexual identity. Ozon's at his most interesting when he's at his most playful -- see also: "8 Women".}
  • 045. (4 Apr) Harvie Krumpet (2003, Adam Elliot) {Brutal, pessimistic film which tells us that happiness is fleeting but misery is forever. Oh, joy!}
  • 044. (2 Apr) Phantom Canyon (2006, Stacey Steers) {If we must have art about things as banal as extricating oneself from a bad relationship, all such works should be at least as visually and narratively daring as this one.}
  • 043. (29 Mar) Wasp (2003, Andrea Arnold) {Well-observed and convincingly squalid; bonus points for not descending into cheap moralism at the end.}
  • 042. (29 Mar) Ryan (2004, Chris Landreth) {Not bad, but does anyone else see this as a self-loathing condemnation of the cold, glitch-prone sterility of CGI animation?}
  • 041. (26 Mar) The Last Farm (2005, Runar Runarsson) {Poignant, though the string-drenched score pushes too hard.}
  • 040. (26 Mar) Pia (2004, Javier Andrade) {ATTENTION ASPIRING FILMMAKERS: It is not enough to have a camera. You also need a reason to turn it on.}
  • 039. (26 Mar) Detail (2005, Kanwal Sethi) {Whatever, dude.}
  • 038. (20 Mar) Drunk Driving (1939, David Miller) {Programming this right after "The Thin Man" is delightfully perverse. Otherwise... THIS clumsy claptrap scared up an Oscar nom?}
  • 037. (12 Mar) /The Wrong Trousers/ (1993, Nick Park) {Wallace & Gromit's finest moment.}
  • 036. (12 Mar) Nos Enfants (1999, Siegrid Alnoy) {Kinda saw where it was going from frame one, yet it's still uniquely disturbing. This Alnoy person is a talent to watch in my opinion.}
  • 035. (9 Mar) My Wife's Relations (1922, Buster Keaton & Edward Cline) {Not top-drawer Buster, but still fitfully funny.}
  • 034. (7 Mar) The Goat (1921, Buster Keaton & Mal St. Clair) {Astounding bit of lunacy.}
  • 033. (5 Mar) The Bank (1915, Charlie Chaplin) {Funny stuff.}
  • 032. (5 Mar) Emperor Tomato Ketchup [b&w version] (1970, Shuji Terayama) {I hope the color version's a little more cohesive than this vague collection of images.}
  • 031. (28 Feb) /The Virgin Sacrifice/ (1974, J.X. Williams)
  • 030. (28 Feb) /Outer Space/ (1999, Peter Tscherkassky)
  • 029. (28 Feb) The Haunted Mouth (1974, no director credited) {So campy that there's pup-tents in its bone marrow. ephender should love this.}
  • 028. (22 Feb) Dawn of an Evil Millennium (1988, Damon Packard) {He that mocks inanity should look to himself that he does not become inane. I think Nietzche said that.}
  • 027. (17 Feb) Village of Idiots (1999, Eugene Fedorenko & Rose Newlove) {Feh.}
  • 026. (16 Feb) LMNO (1978, Robert Breer) {Omigod this movie is so great. I jump up and down in celebration of its greatness.}
  • 025. (15 Feb) Nostradamus and the Queen (1942, no director credited) {Loathsome mix of mysticism and WWII propaganda.}
  • 024. (13 Feb) Tuning the Sleeping Machine (1996, David Sherman) {Decent Brakhage-style found-footage short.}
  • 023. (12 Feb) The Virgin Sacrifice (1974, J.X. Williams) {Wild subversion/explosion of the Satanic-panic horror genre; I really need to see "Peep Show".}
  • 022. (12 Feb) Journey Into the Unknown (2002, Kerry Laitala) {"Outer Space" as remade by a callow film-school senior.}
  • 021. (9 Feb) The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1990, Jan Svankmajer) {Striking self-described agitprop, and one of the few times Svankmajer let the latent political content of his work become explicit.}
  • 020. (9 Feb) Meat Love (1989, Jan Svankmajer) {HA!}
  • 019. (6 Feb) Ursula (1961, Lloyd Michael Williams) {Unbelievably stupid. I mean that literally.}
  • 018. (3 Feb) /Outer Space/ (1999, Peter Tscherkassky)
  • 017. (3 Feb) The Fall of the House of Usher (1980, Jan Svankmajer) {Effectively eerie.}
  • 016. (2 Feb) A Quiet Week in the House (1969, Jan Svankmajer) {Um. What?}
  • 015. (2 Feb) Outer Space (1999, Peter Tscherkassky) {In "The Entity", Barbara Hershey gets attacked by an unknown force. Here, she gets attacked by cinema itself. I believe the appropriate response is: Hoooolyyyyy shit.}
  • 014. (29 Jan) Picnic with Weissmann (1969, Jan Svankmajer) {I dig Svankmajer even when I'm unsure on what he's trying to say, as I am here. The last shot is a real WTF moment.}
  • 013. (24 Jan) The Flat (1968, Jan Svankmajer) {Extraordinary comedy of frustration; one of Jan's best.}
  • 012. (22 Jan) Punch and Judy (1966, Jan Svankmajer) {Inscrutable.}
  • 011. (19 Jan) One World or None (????, no director credited) {Oops -- actually, the A-bomb will kill you dead. That's why we need the U.N.!}
  • 010. (19 Jan) Survival Under Atomic Attack (1951, no director credited) {See, if the Bomb drops, you'll probably survive, even if you're outside and near the blast!}
  • 009. (19 Jan) You Can Beat the A-Bomb (1950, Walter Colmer) {Apparently, the A-bomb is nothing to worry about.}
  • 008. (17 Jan) Et Cetera (1966, Jan Svankmajer) {With Svankmajer's love of formal repetition, it was inevitable that he would have made this film; kinda pointless from my eyes, but the closing joke is pure genius.}
  • 007. (17 Jan) Night Porter's Point of View (1978, Krzysztof Kieslowski) {Eh.}
  • 006. (16 Jan) Atomic Blonde in Action (????, no director credited) {Is this the chick from "Afro-Cuban Genii"? 'Cause she looks familiar to me. I just realized how frightening the preceding statement is.}
  • 005. (16 Jan) The Medical Aspects of Nuclear Radiation (1950, no director credited) {Remarkably clear-eyed and forthright for an educational film of this era; still mostly BS, though.}
  • 004. (16 Jan) Duck and Cover (1951, Anthony Rizzo) {Hilariously naive.}
  • 003. (11 Jan) A Game with Stones (1965, Jan Svankmajer) {Completely charming, even as I suspect it's also quite lewd.}
  • 002. (11 Jan) The Skywalk is Gone (2002, Tsai Ming-liang) {Lovely little vignette.}
  • 001. (10 Jan) Caught in a Cabaret (1914, Mable Normand) {Creaky early Chaplin, not helped by print degeneration; still fairly funny.}
Author Comments: 

I'm watching a lot more shorts this year. They deserve their own list, at least. (Bold films are recommended.)

Could you mark out favorites or something? And, I have no idea what "WAAAAAAAHHH!" means.

Sure, I can mark out the recommended ones. The comments don't say enough, huh?

And "WAAAAAAAAHHH!" would make sense if you'd seen the film. I've seen it some thirty times; I'm past saying anything new about it.

Hey where did you get your hands on the Kieslowski shorts? I would love to check those out. Also the Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The Kieslowski shorts were part of Kino's massive DVD release of all his earlier stuff -- "Night Porter" is on "A Short Film About Killing" and "Tramway" is on "A Short Film About Love". And the Makhmalbaf shorts are included on Facets's DVD of "The House is Black". (Incidentally, I still hate Facets DVDs -- I appreciate that you're bringing these obscure films to the market, but fucking remaster them a bit.)

Oh my God where did you find the Bruce C. film I have money I have jewels please please help me.

;-)

It's on the way, don't worry. There's other fun stuff too that I've been keeping a secret... just you wait... you'll be happy with it.