Free Radicals (Pip Chodorov 2010): France posted in AFI Filmfest 2010, Films

Reviewed by Jeremy Del Bianco. Viewed at the AFI Film Festival, Hollywood.

Free Radicals, a documentary film directed by Pip Chodorov, explores the history of 20th-century experimental filmmaking.  Film activist Pip Chodorov narrates the film as viewers are introduced to notorious experimental filmmakers such as, Hans Richter, Robert Breer, Michael Snow, Peter Kubelka, and Stan Brakhage.  During his interviews with the filmmakers, Chodorov combines clips and even films in their entirety to show the different styles of experimental films.

What made this film so interesting were the visual images on screen during the interviews.  Many of the images and films were extremely rare.  I saw films that were first of there kind.  Some were unbearable to watch, others were magnificent, and the free radicals even showed how they were able to capture a desired effect.

I found the story of the film hard to follow and that’s because there was so much going on all at once threw out the film.  The film editors Nicolas Sarkissian and Jackie Raynal cut from one interview to the next and some times interweaving the interviews together made it difficult to grasp the main points of the documentary.  This film would be a flop if there weren’t any visuals to back up the Free Radicals story.

The music by Black lake, Slink Moss, and Pip Chodorov was well done.  It made some of the older experimental films more enjoyable to watch and also contributes to the flow of the film.

Free Radicals the film should be added to the library of films that document the history of film making.  This is the film to see if you want to see some rare experiential films.

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