Synchromy No. 2, O'Evening Star - Mary Ellen Bute

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Synchromy No. 2 O' Evening Star
Co-makers: Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Nemeth
Production: Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Nemeth
Original format: 35mm sound film 1.37:1
Music: Richard Wagner
Sung by Reinald Werrenrath
Courtesy Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Nemeth

While German absolute filmmakers often drew on J. S. Bach for their understanding of form, Bute derived hers from mathematician Joseph Schillinger, as the Synchromy series show. The visuals are reflections and refractions of light from glass colanders. The music is Wagner's O' Evening Star-a Venus statue represents the star. -R. Bruce Elder

Infatuated with the new non-objective paintings of Kandinsky and others, Texas debutante Mary Ellen Bute (1906-1983) devoted twenty years (1932-1952) to creating thirteen abstract motion pictures in black-and-white and color, with familiar classical music accompaniments. Many were shown at New York#s Radio City Music Hall. In 1966, she made a feature based upon James Joyce, Passages from Finnegan's Wake. -Cecile Starr

Before filming Mary Ellen Bute#s short abstract films (1931-1953), Theodore "Ted" J. Nemeth (1911-1986) learned his craft creating special effects for feature film "trailers." As head of his own New York studio, founded in 1940 the year Bute and he were married, he made documentaries, commercials, and short subjects, two of which were Academy Award nominees. -Aram Boyajian

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