The conclusion of a two-part series exploring Man Ray’s “cinepoems”.
In the 1920s, utilizing the alternative photographic processes that he pioneered, Man Ray made a handful of short films that helped lay the foundation for avant-garde filmmaking.
In the Street is a sensitively observed slice-of-life portrait of Spanish Harlem shot in 1948 and released in the early 1950s. Acclaimed street photographer Helen Levitt collaborated on the film with her sister-in-law, painter Janice Loeb, and author James Agee, who wrote the text for Now Let Us Praise Famous Men.
Gare de Lyon, one of WIlliam Klein’s earliest filmmaking efforts, is much more modest in ambition and scale than his later films. It’s a quick sketch made by a brilliant autodidact who is just beginning to test the limits of the medium—and a relatively simple concept executed extremely well.
A semi-forgotten gem that MoMA cites as the first American avant-garde film, Manhatta was co-directed by Paul Strand, one of the most influential photographers of the early 20th Century. His co-director was the highly accomplished Charles Sheeler, a classically trained painter and self-taught photographer who came up with the initial concept for the film.