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Dada Cinema

Year: 2005, 73 mins
Code: RV-Dada

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  1. Rhythm 21
  2. Symphonie Diagonale
  3. Le Retour A La Raison
  4. Entracte
  5. Bellet Mecanique
  6. Filmstudie
  7. Emak Eakia
  8. Vormittagsspuk

Written in 1961, Hans Richter sketched a portrait of Dadaist cinema in which he included three of his own films: Rythmus 21 (1921), Filmstudie (1926) & Vormittagspuk (Ghosts before breakfast, 1927) as well as Viktor Eggeling's Symphonie diagonale (1921), Man Ray's Retour a la raison (1924) & Emak Bakia (1926), Rene Clair & Francis Picabia's Entr'Acte (1924) &  Fernand Leger & Dudley Andrew's Ballet Mechanique (1924) but, curiously, not Marcel Duchamp's Anemic Cinema.

What was it that provoked Richter to unite these films (almost all completed after the disbanding of the Surrealist movement in 1922; all from different countries - Switzerland, France, Germany; all formally & stylistically different) under the Dadaist flag? What links the graphic essays of Eggeling & Richter to the photographic experiments of Man Ray, or Clair & Picabia's anarchic & iconographic provocations to the rhythmic poetry of Leger & Dudley Andrews?

Given the absence of a unifying Dada strategy & the rejection of any possible general principle - theoretical or otherwise, there is nonetheless a thread that runs through Dada: the deconstruction of the subject or, more precisely (to use an expression coined by Richter in his 1961 text), the Hunting of the Subject; subject being understood as the logical subject of the action taking place, as well as the subject of the narrative (intrigue).

Hans Richter was a German painter, graphic artist, avant-gardist, film-experimenter and producer. He was born in Berlin into a well-to-do family and died in Minusio, near Locarno, Switzerland.

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