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archives begin in 1996

Avant-Garde Movies: research and publication

These posts present portions of Michael Betancourt's current research. If you are looking for his published media history and theory articles, you can find them posted in .pdf and with links to the magazines, under "articles" on

  • "The Invention of Glitch Video: Digital TV Dinner (1978)

  • The 3 Periods of Abstract Film & Video in the US

  • Commentary on misinformation about my research
  • Interesting primary source documents:

  • The Last of the Mohicans: Oskar Fischingers Symphony in Blue, FilmLiga, 15 November 1935, pp. 314-315 [.pdf]

  • Dreams That Money Can Buy, Hans Richter, 1947 [.pdf]

  • Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film, second edition, 1918 [.pdf]
  • More articles and translations into Spanish, Portuguese and Greek are posted on


    Metaphors for Vision

    story © Michael Betancourt | published December 2, 2021 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

    research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES

    If one rejects or questions that idea that cinema can function as a metaphor for interior experience through the abstraction of the image, what remains to consider? This idea of cinema-as-metaphor is deeply ingrained in the aesthetics of avant-garde cinema and is one of the reasons for its fetishing of celluloid in opposition to electronic video and digital technologies. This heritage of Stan Brakhages work continues to haunt this genre of production twenty years after his death, effectively holding the third major variety of cinematic production, the poetic, to a set of aesthetics and propositions that were never as restrictive when they were proposed as they have become now that celluloid is obsolete.

    Joshua Gen Solondz's Prisoner's Cinema (2012)

    story © Michael Betancourt | published July 26, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

    research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES

    Bright Lights Film Journal has my article on Johsua Gen Solondz's flicker film Prisoner's Cinema. This article discusses how the duplicity of hallucination/sight and transcendence/imprisonment is essnetial to the meaning in flicker cinema.

    Un-Dependently Yours - The Experiments in Cinema 2015 Yearbook

    story © Michael Betancourt | published April 11, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

    research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES

    The 10th Anniversay book from the Experiments in Cinema festival Un-Dependently Yours: Imagining a World Beyond the Red Carpet is out.

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    The Early History of American Avant-Garde Film

    story © Michael Betancourt | published February 13, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

    research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES

    The Museum of Modern Art in New York began a bibliographic indexing project focused on the history and criticism of motion pictures with The New York City WPA Writers Project, following the organization of the museums Film Library in 1935. This project, developed over several years was completed as a three volume survey of English language publications about motion pictures in 1941.

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    List of US Avant-Garde Film Histories

    story © Michael Betancourt | published January 30, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

    research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES

    There are lots of histories published about US avant-garde film. Here's an extended list of some of them, arranged in order of publication year:

    Frank Stauffacher and Richard Foster, Art in Cinema (catalog, 1946)

    Lewis Jacobs, Experimental Cinema in America 1921-1947 in The Rise of the American Film (1948)

    Roger Manvell, Experiment in the Film (1949)

    Robert Pike, A Critical Study of the West Coast Experimental Film Movement (UCLA dissertation, 1960)

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