Top Five Experimental Films I “Had” to Watch in Film School

Ah yes, the hallowed viewing classes of many a film school, required credit, and forée into avant-garde cinema. If you’ve been there, you may recognize some of these classic torture and/or teaching tools. If not, be warned, Art ahead.

5. Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World (Jodie Mack –  2010)

Jodie Mack is fantastic and her “Unsubscribe” series is all on Vimeo! They are kind of a gift, especially if you like bright colors and screaming. This will get stuck in your head, I promise.

Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World (2010, 2m45s, 16mm, color, sound) from Jodie Mack on Vimeo.

4. The Alphabet (David Lynch – 1968)

We all know Lynch for master works such as Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks, but he was even weirder than Eraser Head  when he was in film school, and if anything this short proves that and may or may not give you nightmares.

3. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren – 1943)

Maya Deren is the actual queen of experimental cinema. “Meshes” is a film school classic, I have seen it at least three different classes. My dream Halloween costume is mirror face. A good thing to note is that I could not find an internet version with the original soundtrack, so that is worth tracking down if you like film. (You can probably rent short film collections by Maya Deren at your local or college library).

2. Necrology (Standish Lauder – 1969)

This film blew me away when it was first introduced to me and still holds up. Every time I am on a crowded escalator I think about it and about being lowered into the bowels of the hell we call society. A real upper. The true genius lies in the credits, so you have to watch it all the way through!

Necrology from Mdf Doyle on Vimeo.

1. Lemon (Hollis Frampton – 1969)

Now here is the true classic. An experiment on how light can change a subject, this film will change how you feel about lemons. You used to see lemons and think, ah, a citrus fruit. Now you will see a lemon and think NO MORE I DON’T WANT TO LOOK AT IT ANYMORE. Soon, however, you will look at a lemon, place it on a table, and start moving a flashlight around it, fascinated. This is when you know you are a true filmmaker. Points to everyone who watches all seven minutes.

In all honesty, I have the utmost respect for experimental filmmakers. Continue to shock us, challenge us, and make us question, y’all!


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