“The film has been produced by artists. We have made use of the traditional freedom of artists to follow our inspiration.” Believe it or not, there was a time that making such a declaration would not be considered obtuse and alienating. Then again, the creators of 8 x 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements were all luminaries of modern art; Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp, and Jean Cocteau. As the title suggests, the film uses the figures of a chess board to present some of life’s episodes (completing a large task, pursuing a mate) with surreal symbols and methodology. Though Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel began (to the most widespread acclaim) to see what the avant-garde could do within the medium of film, Mr Richter still saw plenty of room for further exploration. among the performers in 8 X 8: A Chess Sonata In 8 Movements are writer Paul Bowles, art gallery owner Julien Levy, Jean Arp, Yves Tanguy Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning. and the sculptor Alexander Calder.
Playing around with film techniques, narrative styles, and the use of music on film Richter described the film take-no-prisoners idness of 8 X 8 as “part Freud, part Lewis Carroll” and it is clear to see why upon viewing it, which could certainly bore, upset, or anger some viewers. Beyond the sometimes-zany surreal fun, I was most excited to see so many individuals who were themselves paragons of the Surrealist and Dada movements performing in their friend’s film. It’s a joy to see masters of their craft working as amateurs of another craft but doing it gleefully, as an ensemble, committed to the spirit of Surrealism that is the raison d’être of this gem, and presumably those who participated in it.
I love to see collaborations between talented people, especially when one (or more) are going “out of their element” to work with another artist and make something that neither of them could have possibly done on their own. I would love to help bring artists together in collaborative projects…so if you have any collaborative ideas or projects that you need help with or you would just like to blindly collaborate with me on a project, leave a comment or send me a message.
All of us need to collaborate with others to keep our ideas fresh and ourselves open to the input of others.