Bill Simon

  • Jean Vigo’s “Taris”

    JEAN VIGO IS ONE OF the truly original directors in the history of film. He made only four films, totaling approximately 165 minutes, and yet this limited output has earned his reputation as a preeminent master of film. Three of his works, A Propos de Nice (1929), Zéro de Conduite (1933), and L’Atalante (1934), are frequently referred to as among the great works of cinema and the fourth, Taris (1931), while not as well known, is nevertheless an accomplished work.

    Each of the four films differs in mode and structure yet important elements link them. A Propos de Nice, a documentary that belongs

  • New Forms in Film

    A SIGNIFICANT ART MOVEMENT in the thrust of creative activity was documented in “New Forms in Film,” a showing of recent American avant-garde films at the Guggenheim Museum. Of the 15 works chosen by the program’s director, Annette Michelson, 11 dated from the last two years, five from the period between 1968 and 1970, and one from earlier than 1968. This film survey demonstrated that a major group of relatively anonymous film makers is exploring the possibilities of their medium and creating exciting films when the establishment critics are despairing of stagnation in film production.

    Most of

  • “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son”

    KEN JACOBS’ FILM, Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son, is, with Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, one of the two great works of a reflexive cinema whose primary subject is an esthetic definition of the nature of the medium. Jacobs himself has called it "a didactic film.”1 It deals with several major critical areas: with representation, narrative and abstraction, with the illusions involved in the film-viewing experience, with the possible ways of handling space and time, with structure and with perception. It is, as well, a work of radical transformation; a primitive work from the earliest period of film