Pure Cinema Celluloid

Cinema Pur

Man Ray, the "Cinema Pur" filmmaker who directed "Emak Bakia" and "Return to Reason"

One of my greatest inspirations is the Cinema Pur(French for Pure Cinema) movement that took place in Paris in 1920s and 1930s and which included many awesome Dada artists like Man Ray, Rene Claire, Marcel Duchamp, and Fernand Léger, and the really intriguing avant-garde filmmaker Germaine Dulac's films such as Thème et variations, Disque 957, and Cinegraphic Study of an Arabesque.

Henri Chomette began this great movement and coined the term. I would love to see his films! He made "Reflets de lumiere et de vitesse" (1925) and "Cinq minutes de cinema pur" (1926). I really hope prints have survived and that I will be lucky enough to experience his films someday. He wanted to create movies that transcended storytelling, acting, and dialogue. He used only the pure elements of motion pictures like visual composition, rhythm, motion, and light to create a new art, a new experience that could not exist in any other medium. 

My favorite Cinema Pur film that I have seen so far is Rene Clair's "Entr'acte" (1924). The camerawork and the editing is so dynamic and visceral! It's kinetic, visual, and cinematic! I especially love the intense roller coaster camera angle. The speed and motion from that shot is exhilirating and thrilling to me! 

I love how they got rid of narrative and characters and literal settings. They treated film as what it really is : something unique and autonomous and special. Cinema is not literature, it is not a play, it is not music or dance or painting or photography. It is a new exciting art form, THE art form of the 20th century! 

They would meet and show their films at soirees, salons, and cafes in Paris. I really wish I could go back in time and attend those screenings! That's a personal dream that always makes me feel good.
"The cinema is not limited to the representative mode. It can create, and has already created a sort of rhythm...Thanks to this rhythm the cinema can draw fresh strength from itself which, forgoing the logic of facts and the reality of objects, may beget a series of unknown visions, inconceivable outside the union of lens and film. Intrinsic cinema, or if you prefer, pure cinema – because it is separated from every other element, whether dramatic or documentary, is what certain works lead us to anticipate..."
- Henri Chomette
Rene Clair, the "Cinema Pur" filmmaker who directed "Entr'Acte"