If ever I was born to write a piece, it’s this one: For Film Comment, I wrote about experimental animator Mary Ellen Bute, and her 1966 adaptation of James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake”. She was a pioneer. Way out in front.
As I wrote, a lot of her work is difficult to see – meaning, not accessible, holed up in archives – so you have to keep your eyes peeled for retrospectives of her work. But some of it is on YouTube, and you can get a sense of what she was about watching these shorts:
Synchromy No. 2 (1936)
Synchromy No. 4 (1938)
Spook Sport (1940; collab. with Norman McLaren)
This one is funny!
Mary Ellen Bute