Buster Keaton, for instance, protested to the end of his days that he had no notion of what his admirers were talking about when they spoke, as Andrew Sarris did, of his “cerebral” qualities, or when they detected a pervasive surrealism in his films that - considering the period in which the films were made - virtually placed him in the avant-garde. "I was just trying to get laughs" was his constant and stubborn answer to questions. Keaton was, in fact, a brilliant analyst of film, as his dazzling film-within-a-film in Sherlock Jr. indicates: the sequence illustrates basic theories of continuity and cutting more vividly and with greater precision than theorists themselves have ever been able to do. But the analysis is not in Keaton’s head. It is in the film. He went past cerebration and worked only with the thing itself, creating what amounts to theory out of his body, his camera, his fingers, a pair of scissors. Art is often something done before it is something thought: Keaton’s impulses were not only stronger but more accurate than any verbal formulation he might have chosen to offer for them.
- Walter Kerr on film artist Buster Keaton, The Silent Clowns, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1975, p. 98
Kristen Stewart has starred in a total of seven different Sundance Film Festival titles including the rom-com favorite Adventureland in 2009 and 2010′s The Runaways, a biopic in which she plays legendary rock star Joan Jett. This year she returns for her directorial debut with the avant-garde short film Come Swim, which is described as “…a diptych of one man’s day, half impressionist and half realist portraits.” Come Swim is a part of Refinery29′s Shatterbox Anthology, a series of twelve short films helmed by women.
FILM. A naked young lady dances in bashes of light in Bruce Conner’s Cosmic Ray (1961). George Méliès blows up his own head in L'Homme à la Tête en Caoutchouc (The Man with the Rubber Head) (1901). Man Ray used rotating objects to reflect patterns of light in Emak-Bakia (1926). Jean Cocteau and the promise of personal film fantasy with La Belle et la Bête (1946). The power of Roberto Rossellini’s neorealism in Open City (1945). Feuillade’s mystery serial Les Vampires (1915) inspired the Surrealists. Hans Richter used superimpositional glass eyeballs in Film Study (1926).The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920) is the best known German Expressionist film that preceded the avant-garde. Radial patterns in Jordan Belson's Allures (1961). The Madonna blasts off in VanDerBeek’s Science Friction (1959) (top to bottom).