Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ralph Steiner rocks the water

Ralph Steiner could take a damn picture.

Even when it meant taking 24 per second.

In 1929 he shot an amazing short film called H2O. The video embedded above, handy as it is (thanks to drzewko), is but a coarse approximation of the film.

Good copies can be found in the Unseen Cinema DVD set [which also includes the amazing Glen Falls Sequence by Douglass Crockwell & works by the aforementioned Mary Ellen Bute] and in Kino Video's Avant-Garde DVD set.

I dunno if there was any originally intended music to accompany H2O, but each of the three versions I've seen thus far is set to a different piece of music.

And indeed there's two vids of live musicians having a go: one featuring the band Tangleweed (courtesy singalonginesperanto) and another with composer Philip Glass on piano (courtesy rollindust).

In 1978 Steiner put out a book, A Point of View, that features a short (and funny as hell) autobiography as well as an overview of his still photographs. Definitely worth seeking out in your local library.

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