I am leaving today for a holiday in Norway. I hope to see some old friends, hike, and take a break from research and writing (and hunching over screens). I thought I would post some Norwegian shorts and sound projects (really, a grab bag of links that I have been collecting over the last couple of weeks in anticipation of the trip). Enjoy!
Before oil: the exploitation of ice. An (orphan) film from Ives Argus of Unknown Cinema.
The Bridal Voyage in Hardanger (Rasmus Breistein, 1926): part melodrama, part non-fiction, part Hardanger fjord adventure!
Ola Refsnes’ home movies, esp. Swimming Alongside the Wreck of Donau (1945).
Ivo Caprino: Norway’s stop-motion puppeteer. I love the shimmering water beneath the fisherman’s boat in this fragment. Pinchcliffe (1975) here.
Camera Magica is a Norwegian production company directed by Morten Skallerud, specializing in large format cinema. A Year Along the Abandoned Road was shot over 105 days in 1988/1989 in 65 mm. According to CM, the film shows “a whole year passing by in Norway’s Børfjord at 50,000 times the normal speed.”
Jens Lien’s startling graduation film from the London Film School, entitled Montana (1992). A corpse and a cowboy (costume) in a hotel room.
Nurse with Wound (Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter): A radio art intervention in Lofoten, a set of islands located high above the Artic Circle. This is the sound of midnight sun.
When the Studio Burned (Lawrence Marston, 1913)
A fictional film about a real fire from a studio that actually burned down. Thanhouser studios operated in NYC from 1909 to 1918. It was recently reborn as a non-profit preservation company (directed by the grandchild of the original owner). More films here and here.
Rupture of a Soap Bubble by a Projectile (Lucien Bull, 1904)
What is (film) theory? Why does it matter? Over the last year or so, I have had to draft responses to these questions (for students who would rather work on “real” films and colleagues who would rather do “real” history). Though I am someone who takes pleasure in reading theory, arguments for pleasure (i.e., I enjoy it. You should, too), or for the pleasures of departure (from “real” disciplinary concerns) are not all that convincing. A first sketch of another argument: Continue reading
The Great Train Robbery (Edison, 1903) on photographic paper. From Boing Boing’s beautiful photo-essay on digital archival processes at the Library of Congress.
I just came across Lev Manovich’s project Little Movies (2001), “a lyrical and theoretical project about the aesthetics of digital cinema, and a eulogy to its earliest form: QuickTime.”
Interestingly, it is now impossible to view the films without an outdated version of Quicktime and Explorer/Netscape. So, it has (perhaps inadvertently) become a project that eulogizes early digital while aestheticizing the absent archive, missing image, and broken link.
Woman Smoking Opium (Léon Busy; Hanoi, 1915)
From the Albert Kahn Collection, aka Les Archives de la Planète. Interactive map with a selection of films and photographs from the archive here.
Blaise Cendrars on early cinema. A glimpse of the interview:
Q: Who are your main characters?
A: Rivers, the forest.