Ballet Mécanique premiered in 1924 and stunned audiences with its unique vision. French artist Ferdinand Léger, already a recognized painter and sculptor, collaborated with Dudley Murphy, an American filmmaker, and artist Man Ray to create this film, which stands out as an early example of avant-garde experimental cinematography.
Léger’s art examines the dynamic relationships and intersections between humans and machines and film emerged as an ideal medium to interrogate these concepts. Ballet Mécanique presents kaleidoscopic footage of humans and machines that has been overlapped, juxtaposed, cut and edited to make a distorted dance, at once erratic and graceful.
George Antheil conceived the radical score that celebrates dissonance and enhances the film’s jarring effect.