Tag Archives | self-reference

guy sherwin man with a mirror

Guy Sherwin’s Man With Mirror: Cinema & Live Performance

Guy Sherwin’s Man With A Mirror is a unique hybrid of film and performance art, a cross-genre experimental piece which defies categorizations. The artwork consists of a filmed part of a man with a mirror in a park, and a live-action part of the same man (Guy Sherwin himself) with a similar mirror. The images […]

thorsten fleisch dromosphere

Thorsten Fleisch Interview About Film Authorship & Self-Reference

Despite his distinguishable cinematic style, experimental filmmaker Thorsten Fleisch doesn’t feel like he created his films. That doesn’t apply to all of my films, but most of them I really do feel that I didn’t create them, as they rely on processes that reflect a certain technique that I later refined […] in directions that […]

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe documentary Les Blank

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe Documentary by Les Blank

The German filmmaker Werner Herzog is one of the enigmatic figures of cinema. His movies are eerily outlandish and otherworldly, especially titles like Fata Morgana, Fitzcarraldo, and The Wild Blue Yonder. The director’s predilection and tendency for danger and eccentricity put him in jail during the filming of Fata Morgana, and on another occasion, someone […]

Hollis Frampton Carrots and Peas

Hollis Frampton’s Carrots and Peas: Reducing Cinema to Its Structure

In 1969, the same year Hollis Frampton made Lemon, the experimental director also released Carrots and Peas, a short film that shares obvious similarities with the more popular Lemon. Both films playfully examine the nature of cinema, but unlike the silent Lemon, Carrots and Peas deals with the relationship between cinema sound and image, a […]

La Jetee Chris Marker analysis 1962 the Jetty

Chris Marker’s La Jetee Analysis: Mortality and the Illusion of Time

Nine years before Hollis Frampton’s Nostalgia and Poetic Justice used still images to examine the question of cinema temporality, Chris Marker composed La Jetee (1962) almost entirely of still shots. Both films share the themes of time, memory, and perception, but unlike Nostalgia which abandons narrative in favor of structure, La Jetee tells an elaborate science […]

George Brecht Fluxus Entrance to Exit experimental film

Watch George Brecht’s Entrance to Exit: Cinema’s Structure as Cinema’s Theme

George Brecht was one of the leading artists in the experimental Fluxus movement, which sought to overturn the limits of art.  In his short experimental film Entrance to Exit (1965), the elements of film become the main topic of the film. It is a clever self-reference somewhat similar to Disney’s Get a Horse! where the […]

fluxus film george maciunas experimental film

Fluxus Film: George Maciunas Manifesto, Avant-Garde, and Anti-Art

The Fluxus art movement was somewhat overshadowed by abstract expressionism and pop art, which seemed to be the more popular movements in the second part of the 20th century. The unifying characteristic of Fluxus is its focus on art’s medium and form, rather than content, narrative, or structure. Just like in Cinematics, which tries to […]

the short animated history of cinema

Watch Cinematics: The short animated history of cinema in 60 seconds

Cinematics is an animated short whose main topic is cinema itself, much like Disney’s short Get a Horse! which takes place in a cinema theater and literally breaks the 4th wall. Cinematics’ self-reference is not as direct and explicit though. It is not as much “self” reference, as it is cinema reference. Cinematics is yet another […]


Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Analysis Volume 1 & 2: Brechtian Alienation Effect

Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is more than the media controversy surrounding it. Sex is not news for Trier’s films, whose Zentropa film company, aside from producing Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, has also produced female-targeted porn films such as All About Anna, and of course Trier’s Antichrist, in which Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character cut her clitoris with […]

Get a horse animated short Lauren Macmullan

Lauren MacMullan’s Get a Horse! : Breaking the Fourth Wall

Disney’s Get a Horse! was one of the nominees for the Best Animated Short Oscar, but it lost to Mr Hublot. The 3D short directed by Lauren MacMullen features Mickey and Mini Mouse in a mixed media of hand-drawn black-and-while animation blended with computer-generated color 3D animation. Get a Horse! is not only a true […]

The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer documentary Oscars 2014

The Act of Killing: Joshua Oppenheimer and the Denial of Reality

Earlier today, the director of The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer published a comment about the influence his Oscar-nominated documentary had on the Indonesian society. The Act of Killing revisits and literally re-enacts the country’s horror from 1965, when the military overtook government power and killed more than 500,000 people labeled “communists.” The Act of […]

is the man who is tall happy michel gondry noam chomsky documentary

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? by Michel Gondry: Documentary and Animation, Reality and Film

Michel Gondry used a box of sharpies and a 16-mm camera to interview linguist Noam Chomsky in his new movie, Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?. Gondry’s hand-drawn animation paints (pun intended) a personal, funny, and unpretentious portrait of Chomsky and his scientific ideas. The movie screened at the Berlin Film Festival a few […]

Hollis Frampton Poetic Justice experimental film

Hollis Frampton’s Poetic Justice Analysis—Self-Reference and the Physicality of Film

Hollis Frampton’s Poetic Justice (1972) is a provocative self-reference to the medium of film, word–image relationship, representation, and imagination. The film consists of the chronological filming of a screenplay —a series of individual static shots with a single camera framing. The “cinematography,” if it can be called such, is minimalist and intentionally detached from the […]

Sarah Polley in Stories We Tell Documentary

Stories We Tell Analysis: Sarah Polley’s Documentary

Through its intricate structure, Stories We Tell (2012) by Sarah Polley (playing in The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, and eXistenZ) examines the elusive nature of narratives, memories, and truth. The documentary points the camera to itself to analyze the meaning of its own story. The meta-narrative composition explores levels of storytelling unified by the larger theme […]

Michael Haneke's Funny Games

Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and the Lie of Reality

Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” is a postmodern take on the realistic illusion of film. It is a self-referential exploration of the truth-value of artificial images and the “entertainment” of violence. It is also a meticulous technical exercise in repetitive breaking and building of the fourth wall—a meta-fiction that calls attention to its own artifice. “Well […]