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THE MECHANIZED EYE is part of the film retrospective UNSEEN CINEMA that explores long-forgotten American experimental cinema.

17 films by featured directors: Frederick Armitage, Artkino, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer, Paul Burnford, Russell Collins, Emlen Etting, Walker Evans, Jerome Hill, Elia Kazan, Elman Koolish, Irving Lerner, Jean Michelson, NYKino, M.G. MacPherson, Henwar Rodakiewicz, Ralph Steiner, Molly Day Thatcher, A.E. Weed, James White.

The dynamic qualities of motion pictures are featured through novel experiments in technique and form used by early cameramen and filmmakers. Pioneers James White, "Billy" Bitzer, and Frederick Armitage display experimental shooting styles that wowed audiences. Other independent companies further image manipulation through creative staging, editing, and printing, such as a stunning three-screen film that predates Gance's Napoleon. Experiments by photographer Walker Evans, painter Emlen Etting, musician Jerome Hill, and the film collectives NYKINO and ARTKINO record the world in a continual process of flux. Henwar Rodakiewicz uses a most extreme approach in his silent 16mm autobiography Portrait of a Young Man (1925-31), a monumental study of natural and abstract motions.

Curated by Bruce Posner and produced by David Shepard

"In terms of genre, UNSEEN CINEMA cover a lot more ground than a typical film series, but that decision to cast a wide net is true to the early avant-garde, who were willing to include nearly anything in their definition of cinema." - The Austin Chronicle

"A treasure trove of rare material from the first decades of cinema." - Whitney Museum of American Art

Descriptions for all films in this playlist written by Paul Spehr, Bruce Posner, Scott MacDonald, Kevin Brownlow, Kenneth Weissman, Dan Streible, R. Bruce Elder, Robert A. Haller, Cecile Starr, Luc Sante, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Irving Jacoby

Comments (3)

Anonymous picture

Stunning! Do we know who directed this?

Minami avatar

Each clip has been directed by a different individual, but you will be able to find this information in the description box below the film.

Chai avatar

lovely pieces of history

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