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James and John Whitney, “Five Film Exercises,” 1943-44 (Part 1)

John and James Whitney

1943-44, 4:38 minutes

The brothers John and James Whitney created their remarkable series of “Film Exercises” between 1943 and 1944. These films are visually based on modernist composition theory: The carefully varied permutations of form are manipulated with cut-out masks so that the image photographed is pure direct light, rather than the light reflected from drawings as in traditional animation.