Mu.: The Bagirmi Tribe of Africa; Prod.: Len Lye, per Direct Film Company; 35mm. D.: 4’ a 24 f/s. Bn
Working for a Sydney advertising firm in the 1920s, Lye became fascinated by the motions of scratches and other marks on film stock. Entranced, he took spare bits of celluloid, made his own scratches, and projected the results after hours. Thirty years later he scratched his way through an entire film, the spare and powerful Free Radicals, synchronised to the sounds of African tribal dancing. Stan Brakhage called it “an almost unbelievably immense masterpiece”.