Just still images, but lots of them
B. Scrivener | 08/01/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD consists of still images of about 200 of Man Ray's works, presented in more or less chronological order. That's great as far as it goes; I saw many works here that I'd never seen before. But that's all there is to it. For the most part, a narrator simply reads the name and date of each work.
Occasionally the narrator adds, without acknowledgement, a random snippet of information about the artist or the present work (these often sound imprecisely translated from another language), or one of Man Ray's own epigrams. What little biographical information there is here will leave the uninitiated baffled, the critical interpretation is often dubious, and even Man Ray's witticisms lack impact absent context or even attribution.
Considering that Man Ray made several influential short films and many objects intended to be seen in motion, the exclusion of anything but static shots seems like a bit of a waste of the DVD medium. Also, Man Ray's photography is represented rather lightly relative to his work in other media, which may disappoint some viewers.
For those seeking a more accessible and informative introduction to Man Ray's life and work, I'd recommend "Man Ray: Prophet of the Avant Garde" or even "Montparnasse Revisited: A Life in the Day of Man Ray" instead. This one is more for educational institutions or the seasoned Man Ray fan who wants to see a lot of things that aren't in the books. Best viewed with the sound off.