No, wait, come back! “Leave me alone” is the English rendering of the Basque title of Man Ray‘s 1926 film, Emak-Bakia.
It arose out of Cinéma pur, arguably the first movement to consciously strategise film’s leave-taking from narrative to make it an autonomous art form adhering to its own conventions. I’ve previously featured a snippet focussing on Dadaist Jacques Rigaut’s appearance (the other featured performer is Kiki de Montparnasse, subject of a new graphic novel), but the whole film is well worth watching.
In Emak-Bakia, Man Ray experiments with stop motion, multiple exposure and other techniques, while sequences which mimic narrative turn out to be just as elusive. Man Ray: “Just as one can much better appreciate the abstract beauty in a fragment of a classic work than in its entirety, so this film tries to indicate the essentials in contemporary cinematography. It is not an ‘abstract’ film or a story-teller; its reasons for being are its inventions of light-forms and movements, while the more objective parts interrupt the monotony of abstract inventions or serve as punctuation.”
If all that sounds too demanding, keep in mind Man Ray’s boast: “My film had one outstanding merit, it lasted not more than fifteen minutes.”