Unseen Cinema 1: The Mechanized Eye
Experiments in Technique and Form

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13 videos in this playlist

Paris Exposition Films
As Paul Spehr and Bruce Posner write in their program notes, these films were the first important international expositions after the invention of cinema. Filmmakers used them as a venue…
Captain Nissen Going through Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara Falls
In this short, as Scott MacDonald writes, "the technology for recording the captain's voyage was carefully coordinated with the voyage itself to produce not simply a victory over nature but…
Down the Hudson
In DOWN THE HUDSON, a boat passenger's voyage down New York's famous river "is filmed so the spectator experiences the river at a speed that is impossible in real life.…
The Ghost Train
The spectral image of THE GHOST TRAIN was created by printing a film of a train approaching the camera, probably the Pennsylvania Limited Express (1896), in negative and enhancing the…
Westinghouse Works, Panoramic View Street Car Motor Room
G.W. "Billy" Bitzer's cinematography was famous for the expressive realism it added to D. W. Griffith's films. Before those he shot hundreds of others, WESTINGHOUSE WORKS being one of his…
In Youth, Besides the Lonely Sea
This intriguing early example of experimental narrative filmmaking was based on the poem originally titled "Voices and Visions" (1893) (and subsequently as "In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea" from 1896…
“Melody on Parade” Organ Logue
Bordering on unadulterated kitsch, this novelty singalong ingeniously collapses time and space as it lauds the progressive march of American ideals. The songs, belted out by noted jazz singer Irving…
Fortune Teller
This film contains early experiments by Jerome Hill shot with a 16mm Kodak Cine Special camera in Cassis, France at his summer home by the Mediterranean Sea. As R. Bruce…
Pie in the Sky
As Scott MacDonald writes, "This satire on religious pretension was collaboration between the Group Theater and the newly formed NYKino. Its creation of a self-reflexive illusion within an illusion distinguishes…
Travel Notes
During 1931-32, Walker Evans set sail for Tahiti. He was to document the voyage for his sponsors thus providing Evans with an opportunity to shoot 35mm movies. He experimented with…
Oil: A Symphony in Motion
Utilizing a monologue, OIL narrates the rise to power of the oil industry in this amateur film produced in Los Angeles. The images, mostly held in heroic, high-angle shots against…
Poem 8
Emlen Etting's cine-poem was "conceived directly in the language of visual symbols in action." He wanted the expressive hand-held cinematography to represent an invisible observer. A painter by training, his…
Portrait of a Young Man
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN was a silent 16mm film in three movements shot between 1925 and 1931. Henwar Rodakiewicz considered adding sound to the film but decided that musical…

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