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Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film (Flicker Alley) (1 Viewer)

Patrick McCart

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I don't post much here now, but there's one new release that I had to write about. Flicker Alley's new Blu-Ray collection, Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film. This is one of the most important releases of the year.


First off, this is not demo material in the same sense as any first-run film. These films have dirt, scratches, pops, splices, grain, etc. Often intentional, sometimes just from films existing only in lower quality condition. Even films with a more difficult history are beautifully represented. You're not going to find clumsy noise reduction or bad compression here.


It is something any film lover should have in their collection. 37 short films ranging from the obscure to some of the greatest experimental films ever made. These include Marcel Duchamp's Ballet mechanique, Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich's The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra, Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, Francis Thompson's N.Y., N.Y., and Kenneth Anger's Eaux d'artifice.


I want to single out one particular film and that's N.Y., N.Y. Basically, 15 minutes of 1950s New York shot through prismatic lenses, bent chrome, and mirrors. Francis Thompson apparently spent close to a decade filming and editing it. The liner notes even say he kept the camera originals under his bed for decades, from which the film was ultimately restored. If the visual fireworks were not enough, it has a wonderful score by Gene Forrell that's just bursting with life as much as the picture. It's also one of the most stunning restorations included in the set. If you love this film as much as I do, you'll appreciate the surprise when you open up the disc case.


Most of the silent films have appropriate scores or their original mono audio. Some films are left intentionally silent. Those with sound or scores have DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks. Again, some of the films had extensive audio restoration, but others left as-is without filtering.


This set was produced by David Shepard (Blackhawk Films/Film Preservation Associates) and Bruce Posner, with every bit of care and love for the films visible. All films are presented in their original aspect ratios with high quality HD transfers. Some of the films I've only seen in mushy tape-sourced versions like Meshes of the Afternoon. Or even prior DVDs didn't show the great photography properly on films like Skyscraper Symphony (Robert Florey) and An Optical Poem (Oskar Fischinger).


It's only $50 on Flicker Alley's website (a little more on other retailers) here:

http://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies/#!/Masterworks-of-American-Avant-garde-Experimental-Film-1920-1970/p/50563571


Flicker Alley's page also has a full listing of films.


Besides the films, the presentation is excellent. Easy-to-use menu system, a small booklet with notes on each film and an essay, and a thick Criterion-style case.


Absolutely worth buying!
 

Ronald Epstein

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Patrick,


You have been a regular on this forum for years. Hope you continue to visit and post here and that we didn't do anything wrong to discourage you.
 

Patrick McCart

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Georgia (the state)
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Patrick McCart
Ronald Epstein said:
Patrick,

You have been a regular on this forum for years. Hope you continue to visit and post here and that we didn't do anything wrong to discourage you.
Thanks. Not at all discouraged. Just not posting as much I used to and I'm fairly busy. I still read daily.
 

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