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Zwarcie (Short Circuit)

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson
1935
10 mins Black and White 35 mm

Zwarcie (Short Circuit)

'This film contains a poem of objects, lines, spots, lights, it is a drama of electricity, it is a short circuit of forms out of breath, it is a convincing oration of the pictures themselves.' Stefania Zahorska, Wiadomości Literackie, no 3, Warsaw (1936)

Commissioned by the Institute of Social Affairs, Zwarcie was intended to warn against the unsafe use of electricity. It was projected in cinemas before Temptation, a feature starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper.

'The Themersons had restricted the indispensable realistic, factual contents of the film to a minimum, building up the purely visual side of the movie instead. In one of the scenes the shadow of a figure appeared on the screen and was then transfixed by a bolt of electricity which had been scratched into the negative. The construction of the film was based strictly on the sound track. The fragment of the Lutoslawski composition had been completed before the film was begun while other segments were specially composed, each note carefully synchronized with the visual elements. In the opinion of reviewers the film was characterized by its clarity and succinctness in combination with its first rate formal composition.'
Janusz Zagrodzki, 'Outsiders of the Avant-Garde', Stefan i Franciszka Themerson, Visual Researches, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi 1981.

Music by Witold Lutoslawski. Commissioned by the Institute of Social Affairs, Warsaw.

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