GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST (6’, Germany, 1928)

 

Challenging the art standards of its time, GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST offers a new unexpected perspective on reality, transfiguring this reality via the surrealistic fantasy. Clocks, legs, ladders, hats and people undergo total irrational happenings in unusual settings. Men have beards that magically appear and disappear before the viewer's eyes, hats fly around in the air, tea cups fill up by themselves, objects and characters move in reverse etc.

Director: HANS RICHTER

With the support of:

  

 

Cast: WERNER GRAEFF, WALTER GRONOSTAY, PAUL HINDERMITH, DARIUS MILHAUD, MADELEINE MILHAUD, JEAN OSER, WILLI PFERDEKAMP, HANS RICHTER

Screenplay: HANS RICHTER, WERNER GRAEFF

Cinematography: REIMAR KUNTZE

Editing: HANS RICHTER

Music: PAUL HINDEMITH

Production: HANS RICHTER



 

 

Director of surrealist fantasies, HANS RICHTER was one of the first experimental filmmakers, mostly of short features, shot in black & white during the 1920's. An outspoken critic of Nazism, RICHTER was eventually forced to leave Germany. He settled in the U.S., where he became a professor at New York City College and director of its Institute of Film Techniques. He was also noted as a painter and an exponent of Dadaism.

 

"Some melon hats, few cups of coffee and several ties have had enough. Between 11.50 and 12.00 noon, they rebel. Past noon, they return to their routine. The story is interrupted by strange interludes that exploit the possibilities of the camera, overcoming the gravity, making use of space and time completely free from the laws of nature." (HANS RICHTER)

 

"In GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST, HANS RICHTER uses a simple trick, the shooting frame by frame, to give the illusion of animated objects. The Surrealist inspiration of the film joins that of the primitive cinema (Melies, Segundo de Chomon) and reflects the same sense of wonder regarding the powers of the camera, not only to recreate the appearance of reality, but to go beyond it, to transgress it. This transgressive dimension takes, in HANS RICHTER`s film, an anarchist political dimension: the revolt of the objects against the bourgeois social order appears thus as an euphoric praise of disorder and imagination. The subversive subtext of GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST won’t escape the Nazis, who will consider the film a “degenerate work of art” in 1933. Silent copies of this film were preserved, but the original sound version has disappeared." (Philippe-Alain Michaud)

 

HANS RICHTER FILMOGRAPHY

HANS RICHTER: "RYTHMUS"

HANS RICHTER: "DREAMS THAT MONEY CAN BUY"