Experimental Film

The article on “experimental film as useless cinema,” was extremely informative and educational, sine it tells us the purpose of doing and using experimental film in order to realize the different outcomes that this may have or produce on the viewer and the person conducting the film. After reading this interesting article I can conclude that experimental films wether they are taking place in a classroom or outside a classroom, have an objective of making a statement completely different.


What new ideas do you realize? What type of emotions does it trigger? What new approach do you get from the camera? What new techniques of filming do you encounter? As a first year student in Film Studies and brand new to Expanded Cinema, I have encountered analytical remarks while taking the course. I find myself experimenting with my own camera on a daily basis. I have being able to catch new camera angles from diverse shots I have recorded in different events like raves, music shows and parades. By experimenting with the medium and the outside world, I am able to have a better approach and understanding  to expanded cinema and how useful Experimental Film is. Experimenting with film has opened my eyes and has given me new skills that will help me become a better filmmaker and artist within the underground film community.


While watching the film: “Back and Forth,” I was able to realize that when the camera was going from left to right in slow motion I was very calm, able to focus and extremely into the film; but as soon as the camera began to move in a dramatically high speed, my feelings and emotions changed completely. I felt dizzy, I was also agitated and felt like something was rushing me, at one point I wanted to close my eyes since the sound and the movement was disturbing me. These two different projections within the film, one in slow motion and the other one at a very fast pace, can trigger different emotions on the viewer. This in my own opinion is the whole purpose of experimental film.

When someone creates an experimental film, they have a purpose behind it. It could be a film that will be analytical at the end or will create a talking point among filmmakers and the audience. It could also be a film that will conduct a preliminary research on a specific subject like back and forth and creates a debate at the same time. I find that back and forth, created many questions among our discussion of the film on the day we watched it; it seemed as many of the students had similar thoughts and ideas after watching the film. Some expressed feelings of altered behaviour wile other stated how mellow they felt.


Experimental films have one goal in common and that is the one to dig deeper into the subject and experiment with the audience while creating the film. I was extremely entertained when I read one of the topics in the article about experimental film in the classroom and the use it had when it was first introduced back in the 1960’s. The article also stated that experimental film offered the students the opportunity to explore personal and expressive forms through the medium. One critical emphasis that came to my mind while watching the film and reading the article was that experimental films were also trying to discover new techniques regarding a specific element used in the creation of it.

Let’s analyze for example once again, “back and forth,” here we see the movement of the camera and the sounds it makes in a classroom; this will let us know that is all about the pan. If we analyze “Wavelength,” which is another experimental film, we realize is about the zoom of the camera in a room. On every single one of them, the director is putting to the test these elements to get a reaction from the audience and to discover new ideas and implement new skills.What I have come to realize so far while studying and taking this course of expanded cinema is that experimental films try to achieve another way of thinking or tend to show something new. The artist may discover new techniques and revelations regarding, movement of the camera, the zoom in and zoom out of the camera, the focal point, the mis-en-scene, cinematography, angle position, experimental sound and images.

Having films like these in the area of Film Studies, helps us understand and get a better notion of the basics of filmmaking to an advanced level. Recently, I did an experiment with my camera. I took a few objects in a room and I began to move them around wile the camera was still shooting. Every time I had a new object in a new position, I was able to realize that the space in the room changed, it looked bigger, brighter and different. When I was finished with the footage and I looked at it again, I was able to see how different the space looked once the elements were rearranged. It brought a new sense of expansion into my mind, a new sense of thinking, than I questioned myself:

What if I start developing as series of experimental films that can be useful later on for the entire path of my career in film studies?

Watch Wavelength in full – Michael Snow, 1967

Wrriten by Felipe Medina for the Expanded Cinema Course at Concordia Univeristy.


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