Return to Reason

Director Man Ray / / USA

Man Ray’s classic shorts are reimagined for their 100th anniversary alongside an ecstatic soundtrack from SQÜRL members Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan.

Renowned for his iconic photography, surrealist artist Man Ray was also a trailblazer of experimental cinema. His textural rayographs came to life in his groundbreaking 1923 debut Return to Reason – pre-empting the avant-garde touchstones of Fernand Léger (Mechanical Ballet), Marcel Duchamp (Anemic Cinema) and Luis Buñuel (Un chien andalou, MIFF 1956) – before pioneering the “cinépoème” in Emak Bakia (1926), The Starfish (1928) and The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice (1929).

A century on, the prescience of Man Ray’s vision becomes clear in these stunning 4K restorations, presented here in a feature-length continuum. Accompanied by a psychedelic composition from SQÜRL – cult director Jarmusch’s musical side project, originally formed in 2009 to score his film The Limits of Control and winning the Cannes Soundtrack Award in 2013 for Only Lovers Left Alive – these works’ improvised soundscape invokes the radical spirit of what Man Ray described as “automatic cinema”. Perhaps the artist himself says it best: “What I offered to the public was … a way of thinking as well as of seeing.”

“A dive into Man Ray’s surrealist and dreamlike world … extending his experimentation with photography to the moving image, playing with chance and light.” – Variety

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