Experimental module anti narrative 2

The short experimental piece that you will produce for the end of the module is 3 minutes long and questions the conventions of narrative filmmaking. It will be an anti narrative. All the conventions of narrative filmmaking can be suspended or put into question. Forget story and think purely in visual terms.
This allows for the an unconventional consideration of screen space, an unconventional use of time, an unconventional use of audio.

Many of the experimental pieces that we have seen have been influenced by past movements in many fields such as painting, music, poetry. The cut up techniques of Burroughs were directly influenced by automatic drawing and writing experiments by the surrealists.

The surrealists both as image makers and writers may be informative to look at for your own experimental starting points.

The surrealist manifesto of 1924 by Breton sets out the groups interests:

From Le Manifeste du Surréalisme, 1924

The text includes numerous examples of the applications of Surrealism to poetry and literature, but makes it clear that its basic tenets can be applied to any circumstance of life; not merely restricted to the artistic realm. The importance of the dream as a reservoir of Surrealist inspiration is also highlighted.

Breton also discusses his initial encounter with the surreal in a famous description of a hypnagogic state that he experienced in which a strange phrase inexplicably appeared in his mind: “There is a man cut in two by the window.” This phrase echoes Breton’s apprehension of Surrealism as the juxtaposition of “two distant realities” united to create a new one.


We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience. Logical conclusions, on the other hand, escape us. Needless to say, boundaries have been assigned even to ex- perience. It revolves in a cage from which release is becoming increasingly difficult. It too depends upon immediate utility and is guarded by common sense. In the guise of civilization, under the pretext of progress, we have suc- ceeded in dismissing from our minds anything that, rightly or wrongly, could be regarded as superstition or myth; and we have proscribed every way of seeking the truth which does not conform to convention. It would appear that it is by sheer chance that an aspect of intellectual life – and by far the most important in my opinion — about which no one was supposed to be concerned any longer has, recently, been brought back to light. Credit for this must go to Freud. On the evidence of his discoveries a current of opinion is at last developing which will enable the explorer of the human mind to extend his investigations, since he will be empowered to deal with more than merely summary realities. Perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights. If the depths of our minds conceal strange forces capable of augmenting or conquering those on the surface, it is in our greatest interest to capture them; first to capture them and later to submit them, should the occasion arise, to the control of reason. The analysts themselves can only gain by this. But it is im- portant to note that there is no method fixed a priori for the execution of this enterprise, that until the new order it can be considered the province of poets as well as scholars, and that its success does not depend upon the more or less capricious routes which will be followed.

It was only fitting that Freud should appear with his critique on the dream. In fact, it is incredible that this important part of psychic activity has still attracted so little attention. (For, at least from man’s birth to his death, thought presents no solution of continuity; the sum of dreaming moments – even taking into consideration pure dream alone, that of sleep – is from the point of view of time no less than the sum of moments of reality, which we shall confine to waking moments.)

Bunuel’s Un Chein Andalou

William Kentridge

Kentridge’s Process

Jan Svankmajer

Little Otik trailer

Little Otik Part 3


Kurt Schwitters Assembly, Collage Merz

Derek Jarman Blue

Waltz with Bashir



ExperimentaL Module Anti Narrative1

I want to begin this week by considering two films together. They both document a specific period of time. They both consider themselves innovative and experimental. I want you to watch them closely and consider them in terms of their innovative approaches. How is screen space used? What variety of techniques are used? Is the means of production shown? What impact do they have on you?
What surprised you?

We will discuss our reactions. It would be good for you to have watched both films before the session at least once.
Your blog post will focus on this comparison between the two.

Vertov Man with a Movie Camera

Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald Life in a Day

Experimental Techniques

William Burroughs Cut Up Technique

Cut Ups 2

Cut Ups 3