Optical Poetry: Oskar Fischinger Classics

In celebration of the publication of William Moritz's eagerly anticipated book on Oskar Fischinger (1900–1967), we present a program of Fischinger's most celebrated films. Moritz's book, Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger (John Libbey Publishing, 2004), will be on sale at the screening.

According to Moritz, “Oskar Fischinger must count among the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His films and paintings achieved the status of cult icons, influencing a whole generation of younger artists, and providing anonymous models for the music videos and computer graphics of the last quarter of the century.” John Cage has said, “Fischinger's whimsical notions about sight and sound opened a new door for me,” while Norman McLaren declared him “one of the great formative influences of my life.” His work was an influence on Walt Disney's Fantasia and an inspiration for many Disney films of the 1940s. Orson Welles hired him to design animation for jazz by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington and for Brazilian samba. Tonight's program of Fischinger's astounding visual music includes 35mm prints of films restored by the Academy Film Archive from the original nitrate.

R-1 (1927, 7 mins, CinemaScope). Study No. 1 (c. 1929, 2 mins). Study No. 2 (c. 1930, 2 mins). Study No. 6 (1930, 2 mins). Study No. 9 (1931, 5 mins). Liebesspiel (1931, 1.5 mins). Study No. 11A (1934, 3 mins). Kreise (1933, 2 mins). Composition in Blue (1935, 4 mins). Allegretto, 1st Paramount version (1936, 2.5 mins). Paragretto, 2nd Paramount version (1936, 2.5 mins). Allegretto, Fischinger's final version (1943, 2.5 mins). An Optical Poem (1937, 6.5 mins). American March (1941, 3 mins). Radio Dynamics (1942, 4 mins). Motion Painting No. 1 (1947, 11 mins).

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