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Film Genres

This guide highlights library resources for some of the more popular film genres.

An introduction to Experimental films

This definition covers experimental films, artists' films and avant-garde films

An international film practice that has explored cinema’s capacity to manipulate light, motion, space, and time, and/or expresses the filmmaker’s personal artistic vision. Usually linked to broader trends and practices in fine art, avant-garde film is particularly closely associated with modernism, tracing its origins to 1920s Europe in the work of artists motivated by a desire to add a temporal dimension to painting and sculpture. Formative early works Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, Germany, 1923–25) and Symphonie diagonale (Viking Eggeling, Germany, 1923–24) explore the musical organization of filmic time; while Le ballet mécanique (Fernand Léger, France, 1924) and Anémic cinema (Marcel Duchamp, France, 1926) offer graphic investigations of Cubist space. The influence of Surrealism is apparent in La coquille et le clergyman (Germaine Dulac, France, 1927) and Un chien Andalou (Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel, France, 1928); and that of Futurism and Constructivism in Chelovek s kinoapparatom/Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929). Elsewhere in pre World War II Europe, the avant-garde impulse informs the work of Len Lye, Norman McLaren and Alberto Cavalcanti in Britain, as well as the poetic documentaries of Joris Ivens in the Netherlands and Henri Storck in Belgium. In 1929, the first international conference on avant-garde film, held in La Sarraz, Switzerland, was attended by Sergei Eisenstein, Cavalcanti, and Richter, among others.   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Avant-garde film. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 Nov. 2022

In the Library collections

To find books and other resources about experimental films in the Library's collections, use the subject heading experimental films. Use this same search to find actual experimental films located in the Jones Media Center. Other related subject headings are listed below.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding scholarly articles & journal title(s)

Articles and other writings about experimental films can be found in many publications. Our collection does not include titles which look exclusively at Experimental films.  You can use Film & Television Literature Index, or Academic Search Complete to find articles. MLA International Bibliography is another option for articles.

A selected list of experimental films

Find more experimental films in the online catalog.

Internet resource(s)