Monday, July 26, 2010

Jordan Belson - Light (1973)

Like Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson approached film with one foot in Eastern religion and one in modern science. Of one of his earliest extant films, the 1961 Allures, Belson has said: "...a combination of molecular structures and astronomical events mixed with subconscious and subjective phenomena, all happening simultaneously. The beginning is almost purely sensual, the end perhaps totally nonmaterial. It seems to move from matter to spirit in some way."

Belson's works fall into several phases: the 1940s, the years 1950-62, and a third phase that began in 1964 with Re-Entry. The title speaks to not only Belson's return to filmmaking after a hiatus caused by economics and artistic choice, but also to the return to Earth of astronaut John Glenn on February 20, 1962. The sense of wonder felt by the astronauts made a lasting impact on Jordan and the other filmmakers of the 1960s. Recall Ed White's words after he became the first American to step outside his spacecraft: "I don't want to come back, but I'm coming...It's the saddest moment of my life."

Over the next nine years, up to Light in 1973, Belson completed and released the eight films in whose "amorphous, gaseous, cloudlike imagery" waves of color swirled and streamed around central, circular forms that evoked planets and stars and emotional states that voiced both inner states and celestial forces. As early as Allures he had treated cosmogenesis as a theme, and this use of starbursts, coils and spirals of energy, light flares and flashes recurs in Samadhi (1967) and Cosmos (1969) and World (1970). - Robert Haller

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no pass