Ballet mécanique, 1924, Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy

A Simple Complex, Basic Facts Observed in Ballet Mécanique

Lecture by Bruce Posner & Films
Experienced together or apart, the abstract film Ballet mécanique (1923–1935) by French painter Fernand Léger and American filmmaker Dudley Murphy and the sonic music Ballet mécanique (1924–1953) by American composer George Antheil represent indisputable milestones in the advancement of twentieth century modern art. Since the film premiered, silent and without musical accompaniment, at Vienna's Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik in 1924, both avant-garde experiments have enthralled audiences as separate entities, each offering a concentrated, relentless attack upon what constitutes the audio-visual experience. Interpretations of their extremely complex visual and aural sub-structures have been further complicated by the existence of five different extant editions of the film and four-definitive versions of the music. Recently thanks to computer technology, the two have been performed together as the authors had initially intended. Film curator Bruce Posner will discuss the entwined histories and intricacies of these hyperkinetic masterworks using rare archival materials. (B.P.)
Chronology of the different versions of Ballet mécanique (PDF)
Curated by Bruce Posner

Total duration of films and lecture (in English): approx. 90 min

Courtesy of "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894
1941," a collaborative preservation project of Anthology Film Archives, DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, and Filmmakers Showcase with sixty of the world's leading film archives and sponsored by Cineric, Inc., New York.

Screening dates: