The late-1960s documentary film of Dada by Helmut Herbst has haunted me for some time and has been an influence both in its form and for its subject. “Germany Dada” or “DADA-Manifest – DA DA – ein Alphabet des deutschen Dadaismus” or “Germany-DADA: An Alphabet of German DADAism” is required viewing.
I have been looking for a good version of this online for a little while. There is a version that is half the length of the original that is broken up into three parts with excessive surface noise and one with very loud Catalan overdubs. This is as good an english language version of the film that I could find.
Herbst’s film directly, but subconsciously, informed much of the form and content of the Brown Cuts Neighbors “The Destruction of the Human Face” film that I co-authored in the late 1990s. That film had its debut in Berlin in 1999.
In post-World War I Zurich, out of the conflict’s sobering aftermath, there was born an artistic movement that preached a baffling, radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity. Random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, the movement spread like revolt to America and across Europe, voicing the delightfully bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers.
Filmed with the cooperation of original Dadaists Hans Richter and Richard Hulsenbeck, this unique motion picture collage of art, music and poetry is not only an alphabet of German Dadaism, but is in itself, a true Dadaist experience.