This year, the retrospective is attended to the American filmmakers Jordan Belson and Mary Ellen Bute. Both programmes will be introduced knowledgeably and entertainingly by Cindy Keefer, Director of the Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles.

Jordan Belson
Jordan Belson: "Samadhi". Courtesy of Center for Visual Music, L.A.

Belson began his career as a painter before seeing Oskar Fischinger and the Whitney brothers' films in 1946, whereupon he increasingly devoted himself to the moving abstract image. His early films animated real objects and scroll paintings prepared like film strips with successive images. Belson subsequently withdrew these films from circulation as imperfect and primitive, but they already reflect his refined plastic sensibility, fine color sense, and superb sense of dynamic structure. (William Moritz)

Belson was highly influenced by Eastern mysticism and he began formulating abstract, audio-visual presentations that often utilized circular motifs, solar imagery, lasers, star fields, and billowing, ethereal vapors. "I’m involved with the kind of imagery that has been dealt with in Tibetan art and in some Christian art of the Middle Ages, the windows in Gothic cathedrals, for example." When watching Belson's films, it is easy to get hypnotized and caught up in thoughts that are triggered from the imagery presented. Watching Belson's films provides the viewer with an emotional and entertaining experience.

  • Jordan Belson: "Films Sacred And Profane"

Allures / 1961 / 16mm, color, sound / 8:00
Samadhi / 1967 / orig. 16mm, color, sound / screened on PAL video / 6:00
Chakra / 1972 / 16mm, color, sound / 6:00  New preservation print
Light / 1973 / 16mm, color, sound / 6:00
Cycles / 1975 / 16mm, color, sound / 10:00
Music of the Spheres / 1977 / screened digitally, color, sound / 7:00
Fountain of Dreams / 1984 / orig. video / screened digitally, color, sound / 12:00

Program provided by Center for Visual Music. The National Film Preservation Foundation provided support for the preservation of some of these films.

// Fr 24 April, 4.30 pm in the Lagerhalle (Großer Saal)


Mary Ellen Bute
Mary Ellen Bute with her oscilloscope, courtesy of Cecile Starr and Center for Visual Music, L.A.

As a pioneer of visual music and electronic art, Mary Ellen Bute produced over a dozen short abstract animations between the 1930s to the 1950s. Set to classical music (like Fischinger) by the likes of Bach, Saint-Saens or Shostakovich, and filled with colorful forms, elegant design and sprightly, dance-like-rhythms, Bute's filmmaking is at once formally rigorous and energetically high-spirited, like a marriage of high modernism and Merrie Melodies.  (Ed Halter)

"We need a new kinetic, visual art form - one that unites sound, color and form. We can take a mathematical formula and develop a whole composition exactly synchronized - the sound and the color following a chromatic scale. Or we can take two themes, visual and aural, and develop them at times in counterpoint." (Mary Ellen Bute)

  •  Retrospective Mary Ellen Bute

Rhythm in Light / 1934 / 5:00
Synchromy No. 2 / 1935 / 5:00
Dada / 1936 / 3:00
Parabola / 1937 / 9:00
Escape / 1937 / 5:00
Spook Sport (with animation by Norman McLaren) / 1939 / 8:00
Tarantella / 1940 / 5:00
Polka Graph / 1947 / 5:00
Color Rhapsody / 1948 / 6:00
Imagination / 1957 / 3:00
New Sensations in Sound / 1949 / 3:00
Abstronic / 1952 / 7:00
Mood Contrasts / 1953 / 7:00

Bute program provided by Center for Visual Music in association with Cecile Starr and the Women’s Independent Film Exchange.

// Sa 25 April, 4.30 pm in the Lagerhalle (Großer Saal)