Experimental and short films

by CantileverCaribou | created - 15 Nov 2013 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Comments added for quick reference. A mixture of films that are either short films or experimental short films, though perhaps not always both. Feature length movies may be added if they accompany a director's oeuvre well or if exceptional in some way. I mostly only list shorts I liked, but I sometimes include shorts of varying quality.

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1. Water and Power (1989)

57 min | Documentary

By using a series of visually and aurally dense tableaux created with advanced motion control, optical printing and animation techniques, the film explores the complex battle for natural ... See full summary »

Director: Pat O'Neill | Stars: Joel Lorimen, Beth Block, George Lockwood, Megan Williams

Votes: 214

2. Daybreak Express (1953)

5 min | Documentary, Short, Music

Set to a classic Duke Ellington recording "Daybreak Express", this is a five-minute short of the soon-to-be-demolished Third Avenue elevated subway station in New York City.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker

Votes: 849

3. Black Ice (1994)

3 min | Short

A lateral descent through the midnight blues and blacks of ice and the refracted colors from absorbed oils.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 888

4. The Dante Quartet (1987)

6 min | Short

Dante's Divine Comedy depicted as thousands of abstract paintings by Stan Brakhage himself.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 954

5. Comingled Containers (1997)

5 min | Short

An experimental short film by Stan Brakhage focusing on flashing light and photographic images.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 688

6. Mothlight (1963)

4 min | Short

A "found foliage" film composed of insects, leaves, and other detritus sandwiched between two strips of perforated tape.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 2,332

7. Two: Creeley/McClure (1965)

5 min | Short

An experimental short film by Stan Brakhage which combines flashing light and images.

Director: Stan Brakhage | Stars: Robert Creeley, Michael McClure

Votes: 271

8. 23rd Psalm Branch: Part I (1967)

33 min | Short, War

An experimental film with various flashing lights, colors, and World War II footage. This is part of the Song series by Stan Brakhage.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 213

9. 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II (1978)

31 min | Short

An experimental film by Stan Brakhage combining light, color, and various footage.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 183

10. Ghost (1984)

5 min | Short, Horror

Haunting light and haunted spaces, otherworldly movement and abstracted time. A ghost visits an apartment complex.

Director: Takashi Ito | Star: Bin Shimada

Votes: 357

11. Grim (1985)

7 min | Short

A sensuous ghost haunts a flat in this unusual ode to plain, generic areas.

Director: Takashi Ito | Star: Hiroko Emori

Votes: 184

12. Thunder (1982)

5 min | Short

A woman's face disappearing behind, and emerging from, a pair of hands. Flashing lights. An empty building full of dark hallways.

Director: Takashi Ito | Star: Seiko Nakano

Votes: 310

13. At Land (1944)

15 min | Short

Silently, a woman wakes on a beach as the tides go in reverse. Her dreamscape unfolds as she tries to locate a chess piece traveling from the beach to a party to a country road and then back.

Director: Maya Deren | Stars: John Cage, Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid, Hella Heyman

Votes: 2,502

14. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Not Rated | 14 min | Short, Fantasy, Mystery

A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.

Directors: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid | Stars: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

Votes: 10,190

15. Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (1976)

6 min | Short

An experimental film from Bruce Conner which combines found footage of trains and small towns.

Director: Bruce Conner

Votes: 237

16. Chott el-Djerid (A Portrait in Light and Heat) (1979)

28 min | Documentary, Short

Chott El-Djerid is a large dried-up salt-water lake in the Tunisian Sahara, where according to the artist Bill Viola, "what you can see is the limit of what you could see".

Director: Bill Viola

Votes: 33

17. Murder Psalm (1980)

16 min | Short

An experimental film by Stan Brakhage combining colors, lights, and footage of wars, medical documentaries, cartoons, forests, and other.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 247

18. Gasman (1998)

15 min | Short, Drama

It's the Christmas season. With her mom's help, Lynne, a girl of perhaps eight, dresses up; her younger brother Steven plays with a toy car. The children leave with their dad, who's ... See full summary »

Director: Lynne Ramsay | Stars: Lynne Ramsay Jr., Martin Anderson, James Ramsay, Denise Flannagan

Votes: 1,266

19. Small Deaths (1996)

11 min | Short, Drama

Captures three occurrences in a young girl's life that leave her with a heavy heart.

Director: Lynne Ramsay | Stars: Anne McLean, James Ramsay, Lynne Ramsay Jr., Genna Gillan

Votes: 674

20. The Death Lullaby (1985)

27 min | Animation, Short, Drama

A semi-surreal disturbing visual narration that focuses among other things on a child that's being bullied by other kids.

Director: Hiroshi Harada

Votes: 98

21. The Fly (1980)

3 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A fine day in the life of a fly presented completely from the fly's point of view. A fine day until something dreary happens, that is.

Director: Ferenc Rofusz

Votes: 1,575

22. Jumping (1984)

7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A small child takes small leaps, which progress into huge bounds over buildings, forests and continents.

Director: Osamu Tezuka

Votes: 1,079

23. Une nuit sur le mont chauve (1938)

8 min | Animation, Short

Mussorgsky's composition is the soundtrack for this pin-screen animated take on night and wild things. A scarecrow blows down, clouds move by quickly. Beings take shape; a town appears, ... See full summary »

Directors: Alexander Alexeieff, Claire Parker

Votes: 683

24. Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)

11 min | Animation, Short, Drama

A little hedgehog, on the way to visit his friend the bear, gets lost in thick fog, where horses, dogs and even falling leaves take on a terrifying new aspect.

Director: Yuri Norstein | Stars: Vyacheslav Nevinnyy, Mariya Vinogradova, Aleksey Batalov

Votes: 6,085

25. The Sandman (1991)

10 min | Animation, Short, Fantasy

Upstairs, in the moonlit and empty room, a little boy scared of the dancing shadows, encounters a figment of his vivid imagination: the horrible Sandman.

Director: Paul Berry

Votes: 1,171

26. Ursula (1961)

Not Rated | 11 min | Short, Horror

Young Ursula plays in a tree and ruins her fancy dress. Her elderly mother teaches her a cruel lesson about whether things can ever be mended; what Ursula learns about how to behave may not be what her mother intended.

Director: Lloyd Michael Williams | Stars: Dorothea Griffin, Calvin Waters

Votes: 160

27. The Last Theft (1987)

Not Rated | 21 min | Animation, Short, Crime

A sarcastic story about a thief who becomes the victim of his own victims. His victims come from the other world and take his most precious possession - his blood. The phantasmal atmosphere... See full summary »

Director: Jirí Barta | Stars: Frantisek Husák, Zdenek Martínek, Ivan Vojtek

Votes: 367

28. Kitchen Sink (1989)

14 min | Short, Horror

A woman finds something quaint in her kitchen sink and feels strangely captivated towards it.

Director: Alison Maclean | Stars: Theresa Healey, Peter Tait, Annagretta Christian

Votes: 963

30. Días sin luz (1996)

8 min | Short, Sci-Fi

The film is narrated by the main character, whom we see as a young boy. He first tells us of the night he was born, during a horrible thunderstorm, probably the worst and darkest ever, and ... See full summary »

Director: Jaume Balagueró | Stars: Aleix Fors, Pedro Antonio Segura, Ana Luna

Votes: 140

31. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Action, Adventure

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 41,318

32. Broken Down Film (1985)

6 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A cowboy is hampered by the imperfections in the film print showcasing his story.

Director: Osamu Tezuka

Votes: 804

33. Harpya (1979)

9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

An unknowing man rescues a rather aggressive and demanding harpy.

Director: Raoul Servais | Stars: Will Spoor, Fran Waller Zeper, Sjoert Schwibethus

Votes: 820

34. Death Powder (1986)

63 min | Sci-Fi, Horror

Two people, a man and a woman enters a warehouse that will change their life and minds forever.

Director: Shigeru Izumiya | Stars: Shigeru Izumiya, Takichi Inukai, Rikako Murakami, Mari Natsuki

Votes: 244

35. Decasia (2002)

Not Rated | 70 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

A meditation on the human quest to transcend physicality, constructed from decaying archival footage and set to an original symphonic score.

Director: Bill Morrison | Stars: Tsuru Aoki, Julia Calhoun, Margaret Cullington, William S. Hart

Votes: 858

36. L'ange (1982)

64 min | Animation, Fantasy

The climbing of an immense staircase made up of the most varied stairs. Symbolic scenes occur on different levels where characters seem to be prisoners of their deeds and of their own folly... See full summary »

Director: Patrick Bokanowski | Stars: Maurice Baquet, Jean-Marie Bon, Martine Couture, Jacques Faure

Votes: 415

37. Spacy (1981)

10 min | Short

Set of rapid telescopic images of a gym, in fast forward, traveling through itself, space and time.

Director: Takashi Ito

Votes: 261

38. Butterfly (1972)

10 min | Animation, Short

The film is devoted to the theme of careful attitude to the nature. It tells us how one of butterflies which are caught by the boy, grows till the huge sizes and the hunter appears in the ... See full summary »

Director: Andrey Khrzhanovskiy

Votes: 174

40. Nineteen (1990 Video)

42 min | Animation, Short, Drama

19-year-old Kubota is ready to find a girlfriend. The perfect chance arises when he meets Masana Fujisaka, his first love, in a club. She's just broken up with her longtime boyfriend and is... See full summary »

Director: Kôichi Chigira | Stars: Yuri Amano, Yûko Kobayashi, Takehito Koyasu, Kotono Mitsuishi

Votes: 16

41. The Cat (1968)

5 min | Documentary, Short

Add a Plot

Director: Johan van der Keuken

Votes: 33

42. A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945)

4 min | Short

A man dances in several locations, edited to have a fluent effect.

Director: Maya Deren | Star: Talley Beatty

Votes: 1,352

43. Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)

12 min | Short, Horror

Experimental short, featuring strobe-like erotic imagery with several shots of the Rolling Stones in performance and an original synthesizer score by Mick Jagger.

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Bill Beutel, Harvey Bialy

Votes: 1,611

44. Meditation on Violence (1949)

Not Rated | 12 min | Short

The setting with the low walls and river views is located in a private area of The Cloisters museum.

Director: Maya Deren | Star: Chao Li Chi

Votes: 837

45. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)

38 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

A Slavonic Mass by Leos Janácek plays as historical figures, biblical characters, and mythical creatures gather in the pleasure dome. Aphrodite, Lilith, Isis, Kali, Astarte, Nero, Pan, and ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Anger | Stars: Samson De Brier, Marjorie Cameron, Joan Whitney, Katy Kadell

Votes: 1,704