Return To Reason

© Return to Reason (Man Ray, 1923)

Return To Reason

Man Ray, France, 1923, 3’

In the short silent film Return To Reason, American dadaist Man Ray filmed barely recognisable night scenes in Paris. The almost total abstractions, such as enigmatic photograms and conglomerations of spiraling or spinning objects, seem devoid of meaning or purpose.

A prototypical example of cinéma pur, the avant-garde film movement of French filmmakers who wanted to “return the medium to its elementary origins”. They strongly believed in cinema as an independent art form that should derive nothing from literature or drama. As such, “pure cinema”  consists of films with no story or characters. Instead, it conveys abstract emotional experiences through unique cinematic means.

Return To Reason has been restored in 4K, as well as Ray’s other short films Emak-Bakia (1926), The Starfish (1928), and The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice (1929). In 2023, Jim Jarmush and Carter Logan, founders of the band Sqürl, composed a soundtrack for these four films as if they were one. 

This anthology celebrates the centenary of Man Ray’s cinematographic work. It also reveals the unprecedented dialogue between two multidisciplinary artists and composes a visual piece of music that touches with its modernity and poetry. The film was shown as part of the Cannes Festival’s Cannes Classics selection and will be introduced by its head of programme Gérald Duchaussoy. 

This screening takes place as part of the 100th anniversary of Surrealism. It was in 1924 that André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, initiating an artistic and philosophical movement that would have a lasting impact on the 20th century.

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