Structural film

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Structural film was an experimental film movement prominent in the United States in the 1960s and which developed into the Structural/materialist films in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.[1]


The term was coined by P. Adams Sitney who noted that film artists had moved away from the complex and condensed forms of cinema practiced by such artists as Sidney Peterson and Stan Brakhage. "Structural film" artists pursued instead a more simplified, sometimes even predetermined art. The shape of the film was crucial, the content peripheral. This term should not be confused with the literary and philosophical term structuralism.[2]


The Flicker by Tony Conrad produces a flicker effect with black and white frames.[3]

Sitney identified four formal characteristics common in Structural films, but all four characteristics are not usually present in any single film:

  • fixed camera position (an apparently fixed framing)
  • flicker effect (strobing due to the intermittent nature of film)
  • loop printing
  • rephotography (off the screen)

It has been noted by George Maciunas that these characteristics are also present in Fluxus films.[4]

Key films[edit]

Key filmmakers[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gidal, Peter (ed.) (1978). Structural Film Anthology (PDF). London: British Film Institute. p. 150. ISBN 0 85170 0535.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Ways of Seeing: Yoel Meranda's Web Site-Structural Film
  3. ^ Excerpt on YouTube-REVOIRVIDEO
  4. ^ Fluxus Film: George Maciunas Manifesto, Avant-Garde, and Anti-Art
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Paul Sharits: Expanding Cinema to the Beyond-Offscreen
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ George Landow obituary-The Guardian
  12. ^ Scratching the Surface: The Birth of Structural/Materialist Film


  • Gidal, Peter. Materialist Film Routledge; First Edition, Second Impression edition (Mar. 1989).
  • de Lauretis, Teresa and Stephen Heath (eds). The Cinematic Apparatus. Macmillan, 1980.
  • Heath, Stephen. Questions of Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1981.
  • Maciunas, George. "Some Comments on Structural Film by P. Adams Sitney." Film Culture, No. 47, 1969.
  • O'Pray, Michael. The British Avant-Garde Film 1926 to 1995: An Anthology of Writings. Indiana University Press, 2003.
  • Sitney, P. Adams. Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde 1943-1978. Second Edition, Oxford University Press 1979