Top 10 Most Bizarre Videos
In a recent journey through YouTube and Google Videos, I put together a list of the top ten most bizarre clips. The first video will give you nightmares. If anyone knows what the hell the second one is, let me know.
1. The Alphabet David Lynch The Alphabet. This is the first film David Lynch recorded – based on a dream by the young sister of his then girlfriend. I really think this is first equal with the Artaud piece, but I had to pick one or the other. This is nightmare material. Make sure you watch to the end as the very last scene if horrifying. I promise you will have nightmares after watching this. A final note: Lynch’s girlfriend is the singer.
Born in 1896 (died 1948), Artaud is one of the most unusual artists of the 20th century. He wrote poetry that was banned by the French government, assisted in some of the most bizarre films in history, and even wrote music. He had a small part in the film The Passion of Joan of Arc (hailed as the film with the most emotional performance ever captured on film by Maria Falconetti). I found this little excerpt with Artaud’s name attached. I have no idea what the hell it is supposed to be – but believe me, it is freakish and definitely earns top spot!
3. Rabbits and the Idol
This is a very strange animated short film. I think there is a moral to the story – I am not sure what it is!
The Holy Mountain is a 1973 cult film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky who also participated as actor, composer, set designer, and costume designer. The film was produced by Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with El Topo and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (John and Yoko Ono put up production money).
5. Symphony Mechanique Georges Antheil
Antheil, an American composer, wrote this score to accompany a dadaist film. This piece of ballet music which is impossible to play in full, is set to a film by Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955). Strangely, it was not until the 1990s that the film and score were brought together. The film and music is a masterful example of the movement. It is hard to believe that this is from the 1920s, nearly 100 years ago. Here is the Ballet Mécanique (with plane propellers and various other strange instruments). This is Antheil’s most famous work.
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) is a great example of surrealist film. Dali is well known for his art, but this is a film he was involved in with Luis Bunuel in the 1920’s. His foray into film was quite extraordinary and this film is very famous in surrealist art circles. Fabulously french music, fabulously odd cinematography. Watch for the scalpel in the eyeball – quite a feat for its time! Also note the rather obscene (for its time) handling of the ladies bosom. This the complete film (which has no plot).
7. The Dream Machine Brion Gysin
Gysin (born 1916, died 1986) was a great friend of William Burroughs. He invented the Cut-ups technique (1959). One of his most important discoveries was the dreamachine – essentially a spinning cylinder with various holes cut in to it which – when viewed with the eyes closed – caused one to see a variety of hallucinations. I should add that this was invented under the influence of drugs (are we surprised?) If you want to try it, here is a web based dream machine – click start and close your eyes.
Nobody does bizarre better than Japan. Read about their craziest film contributions with Killer Kaiju Monsters: Strange Beasts of Japanese Film at Amazon.com!
Starring the gorgeous ladies from Mullholand Drive, (Naomi Watts, and Laura Harring), the Rabbits is a short excerpt from Lynch’s latest film Inland Empire. Nonsense dialogue, minimalist sets, and eerie music make this a truly unusual experience. Use this link to part 1 to see the rest of the rabbits (the last scene is not available online and can only be seen in the film). You must forgive my bias – David Lynch is my favourite director.
9. The Cut Ups William Burroughs
The Cut Ups is a film by Burroughs and Balch. It uses the cut-ups style invented by Brion Gysin but made famous by Burrous (especially in his masterful book Naked Lunch). I can’t even begin to describe this film – just believe me, it is weird. Hereinunder you get the full 20 minute short film by (perhaps) the greatest writer of the 20th century.
10. 4’33”John Cage
Cage is one of the most forward thinking composers of the 20th century. This is a video of a performance of the piece of music that is probably his most famous. It is called 4’33” (ie, four minutes and thirty-three seconds). The idea behind this piece is that we are constantly surrounded by music in every day life. At the risk of spoiling the surprise, this is an orchestra playing silence in three movements for 4 and a half minutes. I won’t go into the issue of the pretention of the audience (watch it – you will see what I mean) but it is quite amazing to see an entire orchestra get paid to play nothing at all. Weird.
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