UNSEEN CINEMA: EARLY AMERICAN AVANT-GARDE FILM
1894-1941, a seven-disc box set of 155 films that runs over 20 hours, will be
nationally released by Image Entertainment on October 18, 2005. The UNSEEN
CINEMA DVD retrospective reveals the unknown accomplishments of American
filmmakers working in the United States and abroad from the invention of
cinema until World War II.
The 155 films selected by curator Bruce Posner and producer David Shepard
offer viewers an intriguing and entertaining history of early American cinema
made up of dramas, abstractions, home movies, parodies, animation, nature
studies, poetry, and montages. Many of the films have been unavailable since
their creation, some have never been screened in public, and all have been
newly preserved from the finest archival source materials gathered from around
the world. One hundred filmmakers are represented including Busby Berkeley,
Marcel Duchamp, Robert Flaherty, D.W. Griffith, Elia Kazan, Man Ray, Paul
Strand, Orson Welles, and many other avant-garde, professional, and amateur
UNSEEN CINEMA features for the first time Fernand Léger and American Dudley
Murphy's abstract film BALLET MÉCANIQUE (1924) synchronized to George
Antheil's avant-garde music scored for 16 player pianos, percussions, sirens,
bells, and an airplane propeller, as well as Elizabeth Woodman Wright's
eloquent home-movies, and Joseph Cornell's enigmatic collage films.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics around the world, the original Unseen
Cinema film retrospective toured film festivals, museums, and art cinemas
around the globe beginning in 2001. Sixty leading film archives cooperated
with Anthology Film Archives, the New York-based film museum exclusively
devoted to avant-garde cinema, to compile the touring film program, one of the
largest in film history. Films were preserved and donated by the British Film
Institute, George Eastman House, Gosfilmofond of Russia, The Library of
Congress, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Nederlands
Filmmuseum, Paramount Pictures, Turner Entertainment, and Warner Bros.
The new DVD version of UNSEEN CINEMA has been carefully revised and digitally
mastered with new music tracks by Film Preservation Associates.
Picturing a Metropolis will also be released nationally and available as a
single DVD and as part of the UNSEEN CINEMA box set. The 26 short films
lovingly depict scenes of New Yorkers among the skyscrapers, streets, and
nightlife of Manhattan during a half-century of progress, while at the same
time showing changes in film style and the history of cinema experiments.
Since the beginning of cinema, filmmakers have been infatuated with dynamic
images of New York City including turn of the century actualities, ciné-poems,
commercial and radical newsreels, travelogues, and Hollywood musicals.
Picturing a Metropolis, for example, features Robert Flaherty's TWENTY-FOUR-
DOLLAR ISLAND (1926), until now a lost work from the pioneer documentary
director of NANOOK OF THE NORTH. The film celebrates the monumental
skyscrapers of America's greatest city. Flaherty's film was restored from
pristine film elements discovered in Russia and the Netherlands.
"We believe these irreplaceable films are a vital part of American history and
culture," says Ann Turner, vice president and general manager of Kodak's
Entertainment Imaging Division. "We are proud to play a role in assuring that
the stories of our times are restored to their original pristine condition,
preserved for posterity and made available to audiences."
UNSEEN CINEMA is sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches
Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and made possible in part by Eastman Kodak
Company, Cineric, Inc., and Film Preservation Associates, Inc.
Early Avant-Garde Films Come to DVD
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