Avant Garde To Music Video with Ben Corbett

Next location on the list was St Albans School, which was about a 10 minute walk from St Peters School where I was at.

Rushing to find my way

Rushing to find my way

I have a new name for myself for the weekend: 15 minute late Kate.

I seem to be running a little behind for everything, but I guess that’s bound to happen when you are trying to get round as much as I am.

I joined Ben Corbett’s guide to the evolution of film long enough to watch four of his screenings, and each presented a different time in film history and different genres; from abstract, to gothic to surrealist.

Ben’s selection of screenings was powerfully diverse; I watched ‘Mothlight’ and ‘Eye Myth’ by Stan Brakhage, which had to be flown over from America especially for the viewing at St Albans film Festival. It could, however, be argued that these do not classify as a ‘film’ at all, as they are silent movies consisting of editing to a reel of film (Mothlight is a series of dried-out dead moths that have been stuck to the film roll).

Tim Burton's Vincent

Tim Burton’s Vincent

Next I watched ‘Vincent’, the film credited as launching Tim Burton’s career. This dark animation, narrated by Vincent Price is typical of Burton’s work now, which is of course for, and endorsed by, Disney. But at the time of the movie’s creation, working as a Disney animator (Ben Corbett referred to him as ‘getting sick of drawing bunnies and happy mice all day’) and cheekily using all the resources he had at Disney to create the movie, it led to them having to let him go. Ironically he now does some of the most well recognised animations in the world for Disney and Ben had started the movie with the question ‘Can you guess who made this film?”. I’m pretty sure the whole room knew in the first 2 seconds.

My final viewing of this seminar was ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ , a surrealist film from the 1940s. Now, I admit I had no idea what on earth was happening in the entire 11 minute sequence, but I understood, at least, why we were shown it. The surrealist genre, the camera techniques (the early days of special effects) and gaudy soundtrack made it visually pleasing, audibly horrific and obvious that it changed the history of film making.

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