This seminal experimental film synthesizes different strains of the European avant-gardes, particularly Soviet montage and German expressionism, to convey the uniquely American story telegraphed by the film’s title. The filmmakers themselves play the leading parts.
Forest MurmursDirected by Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman.
US, 1947, 16mm, black & white, 11 min.
This subtle nature poem, shot in Angeles National Forest (outside Los Angeles), is scored to the interlude from Wagner’s Siegfried.
Moods of the SeaDirected by Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman.
US, 1941, 16mm, black & white, 10 min.
The earlier of the two visual tone poems by Vorkapich juxtaposes poetic imagery of the waves to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (“Fingal’s Cave”).
Following Vorkapich’s montage concept known as kinesthesia/synesthesia, this film sets close-ups of hands from Renaissance paintings, Byzantine medieval frescoes and contemporary photographs to music from Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Stevan Mokranjac’s The Orthodox Liturgy and Charles Mingus’ Haitian Fight Song.