A polemical introduction to the avant-garde and experimental in film (including making and viewing), Materialist Film is a highly original, thought-provoking book.

Thirty-seven short chapters work through a series of concepts which will enable the reader to deal imaginatively with the contradictory issues produced by experimental film. Each concept is explored in conjunction with specific films by Andy Warhol, Malcolm LeGrice, Lis Rhodes, Jean-Luc Goddard, Rose Lowder, Kurt Kren, and others.

Peter Gidal draws on important politico-aesthetic writings, and uses some of his own previously published essays from Undercut, Screen, October, and Millennium Film Journal to undertake this concrete process of working through abstract concepts. Originally published in 1989.

chapter 2|4 pages

The concept of arbitrariness

chapter 3|1 pages

Implicating materialism with physicality

chapter 4|2 pages


chapter 5|2 pages


chapter 7|1 pages

Film as film

chapter 8|11 pages

Perception versus knowledge

chapter 9|5 pages

Fetishization of process

chapter 10|2 pages


chapter 11|5 pages

Deconstruction and sexuality

chapter 12|7 pages

Denial of semioticity

chapter 13|10 pages

Andy Warhol's Kitchen (1965)

chapter 14|4 pages

The stare and voyeurism

chapter 15|10 pages

Lis Rhodes' Light Reading (1978)

chapter 17|1 pages

Meaning and illusion

chapter 18|11 pages

The close-up

chapter 19|3 pages


chapter 21|7 pages

The literal

chapter 22|1 pages

Artistic subject/aesthetic subject

chapter 23|3 pages


chapter 24|7 pages


chapter 25|3 pages

Filmmakers' statements

chapter 26|5 pages


chapter 27|10 pages

Film as material

chapter 28|1 pages

Cinema verité

chapter 29|7 pages

Audience numbers and sex

chapter 30|7 pages

Rose Lowder's Composed Recurrence (1981)

chapter 31|2 pages

Kurt Kren's TV (1966)

chapter 32|2 pages

The London Filmmakers Co-operative

chapter 33|1 pages


chapter 34|3 pages

Humanism and anti-humanism

chapter 35|2 pages


chapter 36|2 pages

A little polemic on production

chapter 37|6 pages

Autonomy and anonymity