69 (Robert Breer, 1969, USA)

The aptly titled 69 is a short film made by Robert Breer in 1969. Breer was a founding member of the American avant-garde, best known for his films that make use of abstract animation and painting. Breer was also largely inspired by De Stijl, which shows up in the designs featured in his films. He was also inspired by the early generation of European experimental filmmakers, including Hans Richter. 

69 opens with a title card against a flashing stroboscopic background. The film quickly enters into a world of shifting geometric shapes that rotate around the screen, including squares and various other objects. A circle passes across the screen. This hypnotic pattern continues for some time - a circle flies across the screen. Gradually the stroboscopic effect ensues again, rendering the plain black-and-white image into flashing orange, blue, and yellow colors. At the same time, we see the old images interspersed. Soon we feel that various color images are flashing across the screen in rapid succession.

The flashing effect continues and - while the central motif is continuing - we are introduced to many other new shapes that appear in rapid succession across the screen. The film then fades to blue and we get a shift in the animation - at one point it seems that colored dots appear across the entire screen. The film's soundtrack matches the flashing images as we get the sound of a percussive beating. Various half circles fly across the screen, almost appearing like cars in traffic. The film reaches a crescendo, and we even see what appears to be a drawing of a human. As the film reaches its conclusion, we hear what sounds like a radio signal. Breer's film is an interesting exercise but it does not offer much on an intellectual level.



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