(Pro)Motion Pictures: Len Lye in the Thirties

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This article examines Len Lye’s film-making in the 1930s within a broader visual arts context, seeking to clarify the nature and extent of his involvement in British documentary film culture at this time. In particular, it demonstrates how Lye's method of fusing 'live action', found footage, and animation techniques created the possibility of a radical documentary practice that could reconcile promotional advertising and commercial art with avant-garde abstraction and kinaesthetic experimentation. In particular, the article focusses on Lye's N. or N.W. (1937, 35mm, b&w, 10 mns), arguing that his work from this period should be regarded as central - and not marginal - to any serious reassessment of Britain's “Documentary Movement” of the inter-war era, and its relations to any history of the cinema and visual culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-75
Number of pages12
JournalQuarterly Review of Film and Video
Issue number1
Early online date04 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Communication


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