Optical Poetry: Oskar Fischinger Retrospective
Presented in association with Center for
Featuring 35mm prints of Fischinger’s
classic visual music films, including Allegretto, Study No. 5, 6, 7 and 8,
Radio Dynamics, Composition in Blue, Motion Painting No. 1, Kreise, American
March, Spirals, Coloratura, Spiritual Constructions, Walking from Munich to
Berlin, and others. Most are preserved or new prints. You can preview excerpts from some of these works on the CVM Vimeo page.
The Fischinger Retrospective has screened at
venues worldwide, including Lincoln Center, New York; Whitney Museum, New York;
Tate Modern, London; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Gallery of Modern Art,
Queensland, Australia; Northwest Film Forum, Seattle; EYE Filmmuseum,
Amsterdam; the Annecy Festival, France, and many more.
Decades before computer graphics, before
music videos, even before “Fantasia” (the 1940 version), there were the
abstract animated films of Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), master of “absolute”
or nonobjective filmmaking. He was cinema’s Kandinsky, an animator who,
beginning in the 1920’s in Germany, created exquisite “visual music” using
geometric patterns and shapes choreographed tightly to classical music and jazz.
(John Canemaker, New York Times)
1926, 35mm, b/w, silent, 3 min.
New preservation print.
[Walking from Munich to Berlin]
1927, 35mm, b/w, silent, 3 min.*
An early “diary film” documenting Fischinger’s three week walk between the two cities.
1927, 35mm, b/w, silent. 7 min.*
Influenced by Fischinger’s childhood observations of his family’s brewery.
Studie Nr. 2
1930, 35mm, b/w, silent, 2 min.*
(originally synchronized to “Vaya, Veronica”)
Studie Nr. 5 (New preservation print)
1930, 35mm, b/w, sound, 3:15 min.
Music: “I’ve Never Seen a Smile Like Yours.”
Fischinger’s groundbreaking series of Studies synchronized to music screened in first-run theatres worldwide as shorts before the main features.
Studie Nr. 6
1930, 35mm, b/w, sound, 2.5 min.*
Music: Jacinto Guerrero, “Los Verderones”
Studie Nr. 7
1931, 35mm, b/w, sound, 2.5 min.
Music: Brahms, “Hungarian Dance no. 5”
Studie Nr. 8
1931, 35mm, b/w, sound, 5 min.
Music: Dukas, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
1932, b/w, sound, 2.5 min.*
Kreise (Circles) (Tolirag Ad Version)
1933-34, 35mm, color, sound, 2 min.*
Music: Wagner and Grieg.
Originally an advertising film for the Tolirag ad agency. Made with a new three-color separation printing process which Fischinger helped develop, GasparColor, Kreise was one of the first color films made in Europe.
Muratti Greift Ein (Muratti Marches On)
1934, 35mm, color, sound, 3 min.
Music: Excerpts from Josef Bayer’s “Die Puppenfee.”
Fischinger’s famous and often imitated commercial, featuring waltzing and marching cigarettes.
1935, 35mm, b/w, sound, 3 min.*
Komposition in Blau (Composition in Blue)
1935, 35mm, color, sound, 4 min.*
Music: Otto Nicolai, “Merry Wives of Windsor Overture.”
Whereas each of Fischinger’s previous films had utilized only one basic animation technique, Composition in Blue bursts forth with half a dozen different new techniques - mostly involving pixilation of three-dimensional forms. (William Moritz). Fischinger’s last film made in Germany.
Allegretto, Early Version
1936, 35mm, color, sound, 2.5 min.*
Music: Ralph Rainger, “Radio Dynamics.”
Fischinger’s first film work in America, commissioned by Paramount as the opening number for their Big Broadcast of 1937 feature. Oskar prepared the film, but found Paramount would not pay for the color film stock he’d requested. This early color version was never printed at Paramount, and Oskar resigned.
Allegretto, Late Version
1936-43, 35mm, color, sound, 2.5 min.
Music: “Radio Dynamics” by Ralph Rainger.
In 1941, with a grant from The Museum of Non-Objective Painting Fischinger bought the film materials back from Paramount, painted new cels and created this version which is the widely distributed, popular version.
1942, 35mm, color, intentionally silent, 4 min.
The beginning loop sequence was restored by William Moritz. An experiment in color rhythm.
An American March
1941, 35mm, color, sound, 3 min.*
Music: Sousa, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Made with partial support from The Museum of Non-Objective Painting (which later became the Guggenheim)
Motion Painting No. 1
1947, 35mm, color, sound, 11 min.*
Music: Bach: “Brandenburg Concerto no. 3.”
Made with partial support from The Museum of Non-Objective Painting (Guggenheim Foundation). A film made by painting; a film of a painting.
Prints from the collection of Center for Visual Music. Program notes by CVM unless noted.
Prints were preserved by Center for Visual Music, Academy Film Archive (marked with *), and EYE Film Institute (Studie nr. 8), with the support of the Film Foundation, Sony, and private donors. Studie nr. 5 was preserved by CVM with support from EYE.
For more about Fischinger: www.centerforvisualmusic.org/Fischinger
Center for Visual Music is a nonprofit
archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract cinema.