From AFI Education Newsletter (January-February 1982). Because of the length of this, I’ll be running it in two installments. — J.R.
FROM UN CHIEN ANDALOU TO CHANTAL AKERMAN (Part 2)
UNIT III: German and Soviet Experimentation in the Twenties
Part of the strategy of studying German and Soviet experimentation over roughly the same period is the striking contrast between these national film movements and their relationship to popular genres as well as their different themes and subjects. On the one hand, one finds the efforts of a Fritz Lang to experiment with the thriller format, and those of F.W. Murnau (and his scriptwriter Carl Mayer) to construct an essentially non-verbal visual language. On the other hand, one finds the relatively less script-bound experiments with montage and certain documentary principles provided by the Soviet filmmakers. An interesting topic to consider speculatively is the Soviet version of Lang’s first Dr. Mabuse film, which was re-edited by Eisenstein for Russian audiences.
Bronenosets Potemkin (The Battleship Potemkin) (1925, 65 min.) Directed by Sergei Eisenstein — Perhaps the most famous of all experimental films, including some 1300 shots, Eisenstein’s classic is structured in five “acts.” Along with Strike, made the previous year, this is the most accessible of Eisenstein’s silent films, and might be contrasted with October (or significant portions thereof) in terms of the different principles of montage at work.… Read more »