Le chant du Styrène (1958)
Pssst, want to check out Le chant du Styrène in our new look?
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The industrial documentary re-imagined as a formalist's wet dream. Colors! Shapes! Lines! Pans! Tracks! Match cuts! Visual rhymes! If that doesn't sound exciting--even with the assistance of exclamation points--prepare for a disappointing thirteen minutes before you can claim your desired check.
It's weird, though--like, real weird. I mean, this starts with a guy talking to a plastic bowl before turning into something like a history of the universe told in reverse, with that same plastic bowl at the center. The bowl's there alive, and we see how it gets born (or molded, in this case), and we see where its raw materials came from, and we go back and back and back in the process until we end up in the bubbling primordial soup.
But, wait, it's even weirder than that, because it plays as though the filmmakers thought the underlying technology was unknown and unknowable. It's as though the machines and pipes and buildings on view are merely future-type stuff from a sci-fi movie--you know, stuff we can stare at and be overawed by, but never understand. It's colors and shapes and lines, and nothing real. But it's so damn cool, even if it all kinda looks the same.
I think it's at (mod-edit: dead link removed). It looks like a complete film, but is only 13 minutes long rather than 19. Vimeo says the film is from 1958, but IMDb only has one version, dated 1959.
Speaking from the perspective of 2020, when plastic is the devils material, wow..what an interesting piece of history
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!