Hello Frameworkers. There have been a few really great looking-for-this-type-of-film threads recently, so I thought I would throw my query out there.
A colleague and I were discussing experimental films that were composed to music. In general we think of film scores being added after the fact, but there are few films that I can think of that are composed specifically to fit a piece of music: Studies for the Decay of the West (dir. Klaus Wyborny) In Wyborny's "musical film," every new sound triggers a new image: 6,299 shots, all directly edited within his Super-8 camera. An intoxicating, stroboscopic trip to industrial, natural and urban landscapes in East Africa, New York, the Ruhr region and Rimini. This experimental music film refers to Oswald Spengler's world-famous 1918 philosophical work The Decay of the West. Culture pessimist Spengler argues that progress is an illusion and that the modern era brings little good. People are no longer able to understand the rationality of the world. Wyborny does not set out to make a film version of Spengler's theories, but rather a visual reflection on the modern age; a stroboscopic journey in five parts to industrial, natural and urban landscapes. He uses 6,299 shots, edited directly in a Super-8 camera. Each piano note and violin vibrato evokes a new image: demolished buildings, rubble, destruction and nature. This film forms a counterpart to Wyborny's previous films series Eine andere Welt. Lieder der Erde II(2004/2005). [Film Society of Lincoln Center] Passage Through: A Ritual (dir. Stan Brakahge) When I received the tape of Philip Corner's "Through the Mysterious Barricade, Lumen 1 (after F. Couperin)," he included a note that thanked me for my film, "The Riddle of Lumen," he'd just seen and which had in some way inspired this music. I, in turn, was so moved by the tape he sent I immediately asked his permission to "set it to film." It required the most exacting editing process ever; and in the course of that work it occurred to me that I'd originally made "The Riddle of Lumen" hoping someone would make an "answering" film and entertain my visual riddle in the manner of the riddling poets of yore. I most expected Hollis Frampton (because of Zorn's "Lemma") to pick up the challenge; but he never did. In some sense I think composer Corner has - and now we have this dance of riddles as music and film combine to make "passage," in every sense of the word, further possible. (To be absolutely "true to" the ritual of this passage, the two reels of the film should be shown on one projector, taking the normal amount of time, without rewinding reel #1 or showing the finish and start leaders of either - especially without changing the sound dials - between reels.) [Stan Brakhage, via CFMDC] These are both films that use film to "play" music in a sense, or use music to generate images or structures. While some filmmakers may have used music in this way in a portion of a larger film, I'm more interested in films that exclusively use this method, whether it is with one complete piece or a few. Also, I'm trying to focus on films that integrate music more deeply than just cutting on specific beats. Any ideas would be much appreciated! Herb Shellenberger Programs Office Manager 3701 CHESTNUT STREET | PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104 phone: 215.895.6575 | fax: 215.895.6562 email: he...@ihphilly.org | web: www.ihousephilly.org <http://www.ihousephilly.org/>
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