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USA, 1944 (MIFF 1958, Programme 23)

Director: Hans Richter

A feature length film in which six fantastic visions, dreams, songs, and stories in colour, are united by an equally fantastic "frame-story" in black and white. This film realizes, unhampered by any production cliche, or "audience necessity", the visions of six modern artists using film as a creative medium, as artists use painting, sculpture, literature or music.

Joe. a young poet in a desperate mood, determines to capitalize on his unique gift for interpreting one's inmost dreams. He settles clown in a fancy office, selling to his clients whatever he moulds from the material of their unconscious.

First Dream &ndash: Desire, Inspired by Max Ernst's colleges in his book. "La Semaine de Bonte". A story of passion and desire featuring a lover who listens to the dream talk of his sleeping girl.

Second Dream &ndash: The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart. Fernand Leger suggested a film on "American Folklore". The outcome is this heartbreaking love story between two dummies in a mechanized world. John Latouche interpreted it in terms of popular songs.

Third Dream &ndash: Ruth, Roses, and Revolvers. From an original story by Man Ray. In it the artist ridicules the readiness with which most people accept what other people impress upon them. A movie theatre offers an adequate setting.

Fourth Dream &ndash: Discs and Modes Descending a Staircase. Marcel Duehamp's flat colour discs assume three dimensions, moving rhythmically across the screen. Their movements are timed with those of nudes descending a staircase &ndash: an animation of his famous painting. Music for prepared piano by John Cage.

Fifth Dream &ndash: Ballet. Alexander Calder's mobiles — objects in motion &ndash: are made to appear as a sort of solar system, a ballet of tlie universe. Music by Paul Bowles.

Sixth Dream &ndash: Circus. A cinematic record of Alexander Calder's "circus" of wire figures, complete with ringmaster, lion-tamer and strong man. Music by David Diamond.

Seventh Dream &ndash: Narcissus. Hans Richter's own sequence tackles the old Narcissus problem in an unorthodox way. His Narcissus is Joe, the dream salesman who suddenly discovers his true identity. The metamorphosis is expressed by a change of colour: his face turns blue. Joe is played by Jack Bettner. Louis Applebaum wrote the musical score. Dreams That Money Can Buy was awarded the prize for the best contribution to the progress of cinematography at the Venice Festival.

See also...

8 x 8

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It all starts around a maple tree in Connecti¬cut, moved to a Paris studio &ndash: to a rooftop in Zurich, to a palazzo in Venice &ndash: to a villa in the South of France &ndash: to a swimming p… More »

Rhythm 94

Austria, 1994
A Muybridge-styled character walks across the screen left to right in time to a sound tone. As the pitch of the tone and its frequency changes, so does the shape and permutations of the char­acte… More »


Japan, 1994
A true cinema of surrealism is often alluded to but is now rarely practised-Twilights genuinely returns to the film strategies of early Hans Richter and Luis Bunuel and reiterates Andre Breton's surr… More »

Rhythmus 99

Australia, 1999
Sam Landefs digitally animated impression of Hong Kong and New York, Rhythmus 99 is a kinetic tribute to the Cubist movement with more than a passing nod to Hans Richter's 1921 incarnation of an anim… More »

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