They Might Be Giants, Archival Footage

The first thing I thought about during our class on Tuesday was this song:

It is a fun song that lampoons the idea of an amateur making an experimental film (or maybe the idea of experimental film in general). It has some fun lines, like: “I already know the ending, its the part that makes your face implode, I don’t know what makes your face implode, but that’s the way the movie ends”. This line in particular, in some way, parallels the grand ideas that these films are supposed to convey. For example, the idea that Dog Star Man is a creation myth or that Un Chien Anadalou would be extremely upsetting to the bourgeoisie at the time. However, I didn’t want to just pick this song since I really don’t think it has too much to say beyond “haha, aren’t those artists and experimental films strange?”.

This article goes into a bit into the history of archival footage:

Archival footage has become a business, but at the time Bruce Conner created A Movie most archival footage was old government stock. Material film is highly flammable, so storing it in the past posed difficulties. However, digitizing old footage has made it both easier to store and retrieve. I would be curious to see a movie similar to A Movie made today with digital editing, and compare the differences.

To tie to all together, They Might be Giants use a large variety of different sounds and genres. However, their entire catalog is immediately recognizable. Similarly, the making of A Movie didn’t involve any actual filming and used stock footage throughout, but has a very distinct feel and narrative.

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