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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Mechanics of Love
The Mechanics of Love

The Mechanics of Love

director: Willard Maas, Ben Moore
original title: The Mechanics of Love
country: United States
year: 1955
running time: 7 min.

synopsis

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.

biography

Willard Maas (1906-1971) and Ben Moore are among the American pioneers of experimental film. Together they directed Mechanics of Love (1955) and Narcissus (1956). In their work, they promoted an open view of physicality and homosexuality, placing emphasis on the greater details and montage.

more about film

director: Willard Maas, Ben Moore
music: John Gruen

other films in the section

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.

Of Special Merit

Hellmuth Costard
German Democratic Republic / 1968 / 11 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Flaming creatures
This legendary film on the free poetics of the body works with the DIY aesthetic, sprightly staging, performances, and humor. It transgressively refers to the approaches of melodrama and burlesque which Smith uses to create an unconventional and - for the period - radical depiction of sex. For its erotic scenes, it was banned in many countries, and in the United States it ignited a debate on censorship.

Flaming creatures

Jack Smith
United States / 1963 / 45 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech 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.

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.

Erotique

Peter Tscherkassky
Austria / 1982 / 2 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Fireworks
This classic example of experimental and queer cinema weaves together a sadomasochistic fantasy of a violent conflict between the main protagonist and a group of well-built sailors. The film’s director, appearing in the role of the young man, explores desire and the imagination, supplementing sexual motifs with references to the conservative American dream shortly after the Second World War.

Fireworks

Kenneth Anger
United States / 1947 / 14 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Czech Premiere
Pure beauté
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.

Pure beauté

Alexandre Alexeïeff
France / 1954 / 1 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
Sexual Meditation: #1 Motel
This material experiment and a film avant-garde classic uses both physical and chemical interferences with the film stock, creating a parallel between the shown (human) body and the (celluloid) body of the 8-mm film in the situation of a single-occupied hotel room.

Sexual Meditation: #1 Motel

Stan Brakhage
United States / 1970 / 7 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.

Ai (Love)

Takahiko Iimura
Japan / 1962 / 10 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
Central European Premiere
steifheit 1–3 / 7
Long term observation of masturbation. Sackl, who uses extreme methods to explore ways of depicting the human body, used a time-lapse camera to record himself masturbating once every ten years, compiling the individual frames and films into a radical ascetic film showing aging and physical transformation.

steifheit 1–3 / 7

Albert Sackl
Austria / 2018 / 9 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
International 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.

Gilette o Juliette

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

Hold Me While I'm Naked

George Kuchar
United States / 1966 / 15 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.

Return to Reason

Man Ray
France / 1923 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Eroticism
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