DER Documentary

Screening Room with Robert Breer

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From the Screening Room series
by Robert Gardner
color, 75 min, 1976/2005

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This DVD is also available as part of the Screening Room series' Animation Collection.

Since the 1950s, American animator Robert Breer has been well-known for his films exploring shape, color, perspective and motion. His work exhibits innovative graphic and dramatic interpretation as well as great wit and humor, and has inspired generations of other filmmakers.

Robert Breer's prolific career as painter, sculptor, animator, and filmmaker began in Paris in 1950. After studying engineering at Stanford University, his interests shifted to the mechanics of film and motion. He experimented with flipbooks and was influenced by European avant-garde movements, especially Dada and Cubism. He is well-known for drawing by hand on 4x6 index cards and animating those drawings in the camera. His film captures some aspects of beat poetry and music in its fragmented, collage aesthetic.

He incorporates scenes and objects from everyday life with repetition, rhythm, and motion. His cartoons are playful and humorous and explore simple delights of life. Later in his career, he experiemented with commercial animation. Today Breer continues to explore filmmaking and sculpture in his home in Tappan, New York. He was recently featured in the 2004-5 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, PA.

    In addition to the interview with Robert Gardner, the films featured on the disc include:
  • • Recreation
  • • A Man and His Dog Out for Air
  • • 69
  • • Gulls and Buoys
  • • Fuji
  • • Rubber Cement

Related Resources
For more information on Robert Breer, see Scott MacDonald, A Critical Cinema 2; Lois Mendelson, Robert Breer; Jennifer Burford, Robert Breer; and P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film, Third Edition.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin, 2005
Asolo Art Film Festival, Italy, 2005

About the Screening Room series
In the early 1970s a group of idealistic artists, lawyers, doctors and teachers saw an opportunity to change commercial television in Boston and the surrounding area. It would require years of litigation up to and including the Supreme Court, but the case was won and the Channel 5 license was given to WCVB-TV. Screening Room was one of several programs offered in an effort to provide alternative television viewing. The idea behind Screening Room was to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to discuss their work and show it to a large urban audience. Nearly 100 ninety-minute programs were produced and aired between 1973 and 1980.

Screening Room was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, who at the time, was Director of Harvard's Visual Arts Center and Chairman of its Visual and Environmental Studies Department. His own films include Dead Birds (1964), and Forest of Bliss (1986).

Other films from the Screening Room series
Bruce Baillie
Les Blank
James Broughton
Emile de Antonio
Ed Emshwiller
Hollis Frampton
Robert Fulton
George Griffin
Hillary Harris
John & Faith Hubley
Peter Hutton
Derek Lamb
Standish Lawder & Stanley Cavell
Ricky Leacock
Caroline Leaf & Mary Beams
Jan Lenica
Alan Lomax
Jonas Mekas
Suzan Pitt
Yvonne Rainer
Richard P. Rogers
Jean Rouch
Michael Snow
John Whitney Sr.

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts