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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Pure beauté
Pure beauté

Pure beauté

director: Alexandre Alexeïeff
original title: Pure beauté
country: France
year: 1954
running time: 1 min.

synopsis

A lyrical composition of sculptural fragments of the body is celebrated for its precise framing, editing and animation techniques that explores the connections between abstract shapes, sensuality, and erotic attraction. The film was shot using “totalization” - long exposures of movement result in the impression of a static object.

biography

Alexandre Alexeieff (1901-1982) was a Russian-born artist, filmmaker and illustrator who spent most of his life in Paris. Together with his second wife, artist Claire Parker, he invented and used the pinscreen animation and a technique called totalization. He often took inspiration from works of Russian classical music, such as Modest Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition, 1972) and Nikolai Gogol (Nose, 1963). He also created advertisements and illustrations.

more about film

director: Alexandre Alexeïeff
music: Francis Seyrig

other films in the section

Hold Me While I'm Naked
The sharply ironic allusion to both Hollywood and avant-garde cinematography thematizes sexual frustration in a fictitious situation of a depressive freelance director asking an actress to be naked in the shower. Thanks to the combination of humour and a low-quality aesthetic, this is the most famous underground short film by Kuchar.
personal program

Hold Me While I'm Naked

George Kuchar
United States / 1966 / 15 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Fuses
A classic work of avant-garde cinema, in which the intimacy of a sensual experience meets the materiality of the medium in a spontaneously poetic celebration of physical existence. The filmmaker utilizes burning, painting, and drawing on the film stock, modifying the speed of shots, and layering multiple exposures in a non-narrative structure of scenes from nature and sexual scenes in which the filmmaker performs with her partner.
personal program

Fuses

Carolee Schneemann
United States / 1967 / 30 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Erotique
This poetic found-footage collage explores how little is needed in order to recognize desire. Through the use of rapid-cut close-ups of the female face and body, sometimes nearly unrecognizable flashes of arms, eyes, and lips, and accompanied by a similarly fragmentary composition of sounds, the film creates a set of pulsating allusions to physical and fantasy delight.
personal program

Erotique

Peter Tscherkassky
Austria / 1982 / 2 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
The Mechanics of Love
A controversial film for its time that transforms the act of sex into a fragile composition of shots of objects from the lovers' bedroom and the everyday artifacts that resemble it in form, movement and appearance. The playfully symbolic, rhythmic collage is complemented by a poetic commentary by photographer, composer and art critic John Gruen.
personal program

The Mechanics of Love

Willard Maas, Ben Moore
United States / 1955 / 7 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
East European Premiere
Oblivion
A passionate observation of a lover, whose body is imbued with grainy texture and the explosive flares of the film material. Using rapid cuts, the director fuses contrasting black and white negatives and color positives of the same images, so that the diary-like captured moments or evasive allusions can disappear in the fluidity of consciousness and the unsettled volatility of excited passion.
personal program

Oblivion

Tom Chomont
Canada / 1969 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Ai (Love)
The body and sensibility are celebrated by the renowned Japanese avant-garde artist with a poetic montage of the details of muscle and tissue movements, irritating glances at the crevices and vacant lots. In the spirit of abstract documentarism and accompanied by certain music from Yoko Ono, the skin surfaces touch each other in rhythmically composed approximations of crinkles and crumpling.
personal program

Ai (Love)

Takahiko Iimura
Japan / 1962 / 10 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Return to Reason
The magnum opus of Dadaist film celebrates the photogenics of discreet objects, where among the captured objects, their mobile rayograms, and engaging asymmetrical shadows, we see a shot of the naked body of Kiki from Montparnassus, muse of the entire interwar artistic generation in Paris, who becomes a graceful projection surface for the penetration of light through the window in a perfect geometry of desire.
personal program

Return to Reason

Man Ray
France / 1923 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Of Special Merit
A radical political gesture criticizing the new law on film funding in Germany, which included a clause on "immorality" that shook the film community into a sharp debate about whether or not to adopt the film at the Oberhausen festival. The initiator of the law is represented by a talking penis and manifestations of political propagation or servility towards power are made ironic through masturbation between the projected images.
personal program

Of Special Merit

Hellmuth Costard
German Democratic Republic / 1968 / 11 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Geography of the body
The wrinkles and curves of a naked female and male body, shot from unexpected angles through a magnifying glass, provoke an associative stream of commentary by British poet George Barker, whose ornamental tongue wrapped with a raw gaze of the skin is concluded by Aristophanes's exclamation: "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love."
personal program

Geography of the body

Willard Maas
United States / 1943 / 7 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
East European Premiere
Baby Doll
New York go-go dancers Ferne and Irene are preparing to perform and talk about their work. In a witty and empathetic observation, they reflect on their experience, their own dignity and the transformation of the perception of public behavior, which was more of an art form than a utilitarian service.
personal program

Baby Doll

Tessa Hughes-Freeland
United Kingdom / 1982 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Removed
In her collage of pornographic films from the 1970s, Uman uses white paint and nail polish remover to erase the actresses. The blank spots in the shape of the female bodies emphasize and critique their position within the filmed act of sex and seduction, ironically reducing the men to cheap gazes and possessive physical contact.
personal program

Removed

Naomi Uman
Mexico, United States / 1999 / 7 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Gilette o Juliette
The intensities of physical experience and mental passion are reflected in physical and metaphorical splices of cultural, political and personal mythologies. In intimate scenes of transforming photographs into food or masturbation with a razor blade, the image and body become the subject of borderline desire, injury, disruption and harm.
personal program

Gilette o Juliette

Sirio Luginbülh
France / 1978 / 15 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
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