263MC: Structuralist Film

Structuralist Film (anti-narrative) is a film technique that attempts to be non-illusionist and focusses on the structural elements of film; colour, shape, repetition, screenspace and soundscapes. Here is a good quote that I heard during a lecture on structuralist film, taken from Peter Gidal’s introductory essay to the Structural Film Anthology, Published by the BFi in 1976.:

“Structural/ Materialist film attempts to be non-illusionist. The process of the film’s making deals with devices that result in demystification or attempted demystification of the film process. But by ‘deals with’ I do not mean ‘represents’. In other words, such films do not document various film procedures, which would place them in the same category as films which transparently document a narrative, a set of actions, etc.”

Here is a good example of structuralist film, with Len Lye’s ‘Colour Box’:

This film is all about visual language, and uses paint on film and audio/music in a very unique way. Lye uses the film as a direct medium, by drawing and painting onto it, which then gives the illusion of movement. I like this style of film-making, as i believe the pieces created are works of art, and are not just to tell a story. This is a similar technique used in rotoscoping, which I have touched on in other modules, and can be found here: https://vimeo.com/88017117

A more contemporary example of structuralist film, is that of the works of Michel Gondry, in the music videos for The White Stripes:

In the video for The Hardest Button to Button, Gondry created a video that was in sync with the music, by using stop motion video. The created a really interesting effect and surreal effect, and is one of my favourite music videos to date.

I did some more research on how music and film can link together, and found some good examples of contemporary music videos that incorporate film in an intersting way. The first is for a band called Alt-J and their track Breezeblocks:

This video shows a story of a husband and wife, but is played in reverse so that the narrative is unclear. What I mean by this is that at the beginning of the video, the viewer may believe on thing, but at the end the story becomes clear (I say this without trying to spoil the video). This is a really good technique, and I believe I may attempt to incorporate something similar in my final piece. I like the idea of a story that gets the viewer speculating on the outcome/cause of certain events. Another video I found that uses interactive film and music, is one for Bombay Bicycle Club’s track Carry Me:

http://www.carryme.tv/ (Interactive Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZCfqhRgJ0Q (Original, official video)

I love the idea of an interactive video, and I found that it helps to viewer feel more connected to the music. I may attempt to experiment with interactive video if I have the time. I also like how this video is a similar stop motion style to the previous, and I may try to incorporate that into some of my work also.



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