"Non-narrative" film and video offers moving light, sound, and image in the service of visual art, unfettered by any notion of link to story or plot. Yet, in the works of the five artists I cite below, (all represented on this website!) you'll find emotion, expression, humanity and a sense of experimentation with their chosen medium that pushes the limits of image on film and video. Their combined legacy has influenced untold numbers of more conventional filmmakers.
Harry Smith - 1923-1991 - a leading figure in avant garde film in the mid-twentieth century, he's alsoknown as a painter, and trained as an anthropologist, linguist and translator. His abstract films used a painstaking process of animation that often took years to produce a single film. (see image above)
Peter Kubelka, an Austrian filmmaker born in 1934, his short films capture momentary impressions in an abstract and kinetic vision. His work helped to shape the underground avant garde film scene in Europe in the 1960's. (see video clip below)
Stan Brakhage, (1933-2003,) looms large in the field of American avant garde and experimental film. He experimented with various ways and techniques in creating image, producing expressive results that resonate with an essential humanity. He has influenced a great many younger filmmakers, Trey Parker (of South Park fame,) among them.
R. Bruce Elder, a Canadian filmmaker born in 1947, (and personal friend of Stan Brakhage,) became known on the international scene in the 1980's, with his luminous films that use a combination of images and computer manipulations, along with a "rough handling" technique in the processing of the film that results in mesmerizing layered effects and movement.
Bill Viola, an American video artist born in 1951, Viola's work uses the medium to create arresting images that engross you in their movement and transformation, often using elements like water. Sure technical mastery combines with a vision in works that depict depth, feeling, and even spirituality.