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Light Industry Film Screening – Abstronics

October 19, 2017 - 7:00 pm

A pioneer of visual music and electronic art, Mary Ellen Bute produced over a dozen short abstract animations between the 1930s and the 1950s. Set to classical music by the likes of Bach, Saint-Saens, and Shoshtakovich, and replete with rapidly mutating geometries, Bute’s film making is at once formally rigorous and enr· gotically high-spirited, like a marriage of high modernism and Mer­rie Melodies. In the late 1940s, Lewis Jacobs observod that Bute’s films were “composed upon mathematical formulae depicting in ever-changing lights and shadows, growing lines and forms, deep­ening colors and tones, the tumbling, racing impressions evoked by the musical accompaniment.” Bute herself wrote that she sought to “bring to th eyes a combination of visual forms unfolding along with the thematic development and rhythmic cadences of music.”
Though her films are seen only rarely today, her works were viewed quite widely in her lifetime, and in popular venues unusu­al for an avant-garde filmmaker. Her work often ran boforo regu­lar Hollywood features at movie theaters in New York, beginning with her first film, Rhythm in Light, which appeared on the gigantic screen at Radio City Music Hall before the premiere of tho first Tech­nicolor foaturo, Roubon Mamoulian’s Becky Sharp.


October 19, 2017
7:00 pm


James M. Stewart Theater
185 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ
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