Return to Reason

Man Ray Le retour à la raison, FR, 1923, 3', 35 mm

More a work in experimental Dadaism than a film, Le retour à la raison was the first film to be made by the celebrated surrealist artist, Man Ray. The American-born artist made the film soon after he moved to Paris in the early 1920s to found the Dada movement. The early segments of the film illustrates a technique which Man Ray pioneered in static photography, the rayograph. Here, an object is placed between a light source and photosensitive film, in contrast to traditional photography where photographic film captures light reflected off an object. For Le Retour à la raison Man Ray sought to extend the rayograph technique to a moving image. He sprinkled salt and pepper on one piece of film, pins on another, illuminated the film for a few seconds, and then developed the film. For the final few seconds of the film, Man Ray shot some images of the nude torso of his model, Kiki of Montparnasse, illuminated in striped light. The film was first shown at the Cœur à Barbe evening at the Theater Michel in July 6th 1923. It was ill-received by the audience, partly because the film broke twice during its projection. (frenchfilms.topcities.com)

MAN RAY, Le retour à la raison
Copyright: © ​MAN RAY TRUST / Adagp, Paris 2016.

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