this upcoming release by kino of early avant-garde cinema was mentioned on the frameworks mailing list. it has since jumped to the top of my must have dvd list.

Kino on Video is proud to release for the first time in one collection two dozen of the most influential short films ever made, all culled from the “Golden Age” or first wave of avant-garde cinema in the 1920s and 30s. Transferred from the rare 35 and 16mm prints of the Raymond Rohauer archive, this two DVD set is a virtual catalogue of famous images from artists who quite literally expanded the vocabulary of the moving image, including Orson Welles, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, and Man Ray. An indisputable must-have for cinephiles, this incredible collection contains over six hours of film and comes at the low SRP of $29.95. The pre-book date is July 5th, 2005 with a street date of August 2nd.

By the early 1920s, filmmakers like Griffith and DeMille had forged a fully realized system of cinematic storytelling under the exigencies of linear space and time and transparently rational exposition. For many artists, the strictures of such filmmaking foreclosed possibilities within a medium just beginning to evolve, and a whole generation of visual innovators around the globe set to the task of “making it new.” As the incredible range of styles and subjects contained in Kino’s AVANT-GARDE anthology makes evident, the boundaries of film language proved to be only as limited as the artist’s imagination.

while reading about the avant-garde dvd i discovered this write up on gay silent films on dvd:

Kino on Video is proud to present a truly eye-opening collection of gay-themed German films made during the silent era, available for the first time on DVD. Variously banned, censored, and kept out of the public eye for decades, Richard Oswald’s DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS (1919) Carl Theodor Dreyer’s MICHAEL (1924), and William Dieterle’s SEX IN CHAINS (1928), are landmarks in the history of representations of homosexuality onscreen, as well as in the artistry of German cinema. All three discs will prebook on November 16th, 2004 with a SRP of $29.95, streeting on December 14, 2004.

While German cinema is known to have flirted with provocative displays of homosexuality early on — MAEDCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931) and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (1929) among the most salient examples — Kino’s new offerings from the Weimar Republic are unprecedented in their sometimes shocking explicitness, as well as for their sober handling of still-controversial material. Brought to life by many of the period’s top talents on both sides of the camera, these treasures are a must for students and enthusiasts of one of the most fecund eras in film production – and of the bold subject matter its artists dared put on the screen.

i’m both surprised and not surprised that such things exist. something else to add to my growing want list.

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