Film Review by Dean Duncan May 26, 2015

Here’s a major collection, and a major alternative to the commercial features to which we’re so accustomed. Charles and Ray Eames are probably best known for their noted design work. They were also major filmmakers, working exclusively and very happily in an educational idiom. On this site we have celebrated the work of, the fact of educational film, and have often found the best of them to be the result of publicly subsidy. (Canada’s National Film Board is surely our most cited, arguably the most successful and salutary manifestation of that system.)

We’ll stand by that, but fair is fair. Although the Eames, working exclusively in the US, were recipients of government grants, their educational films were for the most part the result of private subsidy. These are corporate films, and they are also industrial films. We may recoil at the sound—though we shouldn’t, necessarily—but the Eames’ brilliant, healthful output should give us to understand how full and fine these alternatives can be. 

Again, blockbust if you must, but if you do, when you do, you’ll be viewing beneath your capacity, living beneath your blessings!

We accessed all of these fine films as a result of this fine collection: And see, we even linked you through a commercial institution and their commercial website!

Parade, then. Talk about scaffolding (also known as zones of proximal development)! Poor young Marco’s dad notwithstanding, it turns out that grown-ups can describe what they saw on Mulberry Street. Not only that, but they can actually give that fantasy flesh, and an appropriate form. There’s a special beauty, a special kinetic charge here. Partly it’s the result of that camera moving past and through, that lens focus-shifting between these terrific miniature objects. There’s also the terrific eclecticism, even chaos, of all these unmatching toys. Different materials, methods, origins, but they’re certainly united in their particularity, their handmade-ness. It’s not the intent, but the implication is still there: you don’t need the whole product line, or to do what they say, the way that they say it. Play as freedom! There’s Hans Christian Andersen here too.  Imagination, plus actual playful interaction/manipulation animates the inanimate. Also, the mixture of flat and painted and even non backgrounds is really cool. After all of the film’s enclosed and contained images the last shot is made outside. Little thing, but with a feeling of magnitude and expanse! Cf. La Jetée, City of Gold, etc.!