L’Etoile de Mer (The Starfish) 1928


Surrealist photographer May Ray set out to do away with trivialities like characters and plots when he made his cinéma pur (“pure cinema”) shorts. In Emak-Bakia, he mixed direct-film (laying nails directly on a film strip and exposing it) with distorted close-ups of motion and all sorts of other trickery to create a mesmerizing experimental trip. In L’Etoile de Mer, he teamed up with poet Robert Desnos to push things in a different direction—making a film that evokes a distant memory of a near-erotic encounter. Punctuated by intertitles with Desnos’s words, Ray shoots his images through rough glass or mirrors to keep the actors out-of-focus—discernible but indecipherable. And so the voyeurism inherent in the medium comes to the forefront, only to be teased with undelivered goods.

Director: Man Ray
Writer: Robert Desnos (poem)
Stars: Kiki of Montparnasse, André de la Rivière, Robert Desnos




Author: Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present