Re: [Frameworks] science film query

From: Serge Levchin (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Dec 30 2010 - 15:06:10 PST

Thank you, Craig, Jennifer, Tony, Rob, Rob, Rick, Kevin, David, James, Tom
and Jacques for many great leads – especially James for a treasure trove of
literature. It will probably take me some time to digest and track down all
the titles (but please keep them coming).

Naturally, the claim that I have already found all commercially available
science films is thoroughly preposterous – thanks craig for calling me out.
I suppose I meant something far more modest – that I’ve tracked down several
of the recently released DVDs with strictly research/popular science
content, like the BFI DVD Secrets of Nature, the Criterion Painlevé, and the
Les Documents Cinematographiques Painlevé, the 6 DVD set of the films of
Charles and Ray Eames, and the peculiar educational films of the Soviet
filmmaker Vladimir Kobrin (these have never been released, but they are
floating around in cyberspace) – these are ostensibly popular science films
with a marked surrealist aesthetic. That he was allowed to make these films
in the late 70s and 80s – as a staff director of the Central Science Film
Studio in Moscow – is of course remarkable. I think it was Kobrin that first
prompted me to look for other evidence of this kind of cross-breeding – and
I recommend the films highly to all interested in such things.

Whether Kobrin was an avant-gardist who found popular science film to be a
convenient “cover” that allowed him to work under less stringent scrutiny,
or whether he saw in that genre something that contained the potential for
artistic exploration or exploitation – is not entirely clear to me. In his
book *Cinema before Cinema* Virgilio Tosi claims that a) the real birth of
cinema was determined by the needs of scientific research, and b) scientific
cinema constitutes the historical basis for the language of moving images.
It was interesting for me to follow up on these claims and see whether there
are certain stylistic/structural/aesthetic/etc. aspects of science/research
film that continue to inform artistic film works to this day. I’m sure all
the leads generously provided by fellow frameworkers will prove highly
relevant and useful.

Thanks again – and Happy New Year!


On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM, jacques soddell <email suppressed> wrote:

> Don Levy’s exploration of time: Time Is (available on the DVD of his
> feature Herostratus).
> Charles and Ray Eames: Powers of Ten
> Jacques Soddell
> sound and video artist
> cajid media/undue noise/possible musics
> 21 wirth st bendigo vic 3550 australia, m 0421786595
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> FrameWorks mailing list
> email suppressed

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