Rhythmus 21 (1921) – Hans Richter

Rhythmus 21 (1921)

Hans Richter

Rhythmus 21 is Hans Richter’s first film…Richter went on to make Rhythmus 23 (1923)…and Rhythmus 25 (1925). In this first of the series, originally known as Film ist Rhythmus, he experiments with square forms. These forms appear in very simple to very complex compositions-from the beginning shots where the squares with the frame. The effect is a subversion of the cinematic illusion of depth. Richter creates a precise rhythm with the movement of these shapes. “The simple square of the movie screen could easily be divided and “orchestrated,” wrote Richter in 1953. “These division or parts could then be orchestrated in time by accepting the rectangle of the ‘movie canvas’ as the form element. In other words, I did again with the screen what I had done years before with the canvas. In doing so I found a new sensation: rhythm- which is, I still think, the chief sensation of any expression of movement.”

Publication excerpt Circulating Film Library Catalog, New York The Museum of Modern Art, 1984, p. 166

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