Man Ray – Le Retour a La Raison (1923)
Man Ray, (pic. with Salvador Dali) was one of the leading artists of the avant garde of 1920s and 1930s Paris. A key figure in the Dada and Surrealist movements, his works spanned various media, including film. He was a leading exponent of the Cinéma Pur, or “Pure Cinema,” which rejected such “bourgeois” conceits as character, setting and plot.
Le Retour à la Raison (below) was completed in 1923.
It’s basically a kinetic extension of Man Ray’s still photography. Many of the images in Le Retour are animated photograms, a technique in which opaque, or partially opaque, objects are arranged directly on top of a sheet of photographic paper and exposed to light. The technique is as old as photography itself, but Man Ray had a gift for self-promotion, so he called them “rayographs.” For Le Retour, Man Ray sprinkled objects like salt and pepper and pins onto the photographic paper. He also filmed live-action sequences of an amusement park carousel and other subjects, including the nude torso of his model and lover, gorgeous Kiki of Montparnasse.