blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Anemic Cinema (1926, Marcel Duchamp)

A scene from ANEMIC CINEMA, directed by Marcel Duchamp.

I’m not sure how Anemic Cinema cinema is surrealist. Obviously for the time, but today the most surreal thing about it is the copyright notice. Director Duchamp slaps a copyright notice on the end.

It feels completely out of place with Anemic, which is otherwise a direct communication with the viewer.

Duchamp alternates between his Rotoreliefs–think carnival spinning wheels (though sometimes not very motional)–and these little spinning disks with sayings on them. Some of the sayings are funnier than the others, some are more bewildering, most directly engage the viewer. Anemic is often second person.

It makes for an interesting experience. The more outlandish the text disks, the less movement in the carnival wheels.

Only a few of the carnival wheels disrupt the experience; these wheels are so fantastic, one has to wonder how Duchamp created them.

Anemic transfixes until that jarring, baffling finish with the copyright notice.



Directed by Marcel Duchamp; director of photography, Man Ray.


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