#129) H2O (1929)
OR “13 Lakes’ Great-Grandparent”
Directed by Ralph Steiner
Class of 2005
The Plot: Water. It’s 12 minutes of water in various forms (though mostly up-close and abstract). No music, no commentary, just water.
Why It Matters: The NFR calls the film a “cinematic tone poem” with “striking visual effects”.
But Does It Really?: I dunno. We got plenty of Ralph Steiner on this list, and I can’t find any direct influence that this film has had, but it’s nice to know that avant-garde filmmaking was happening as early as the late ‘20s. If nothing else, this film must be fun to watch while high.
Wow, That’s Dated: Nothing, for the natural ebb and flow of water is timeless, much like the endless ebb and flow of life.
- Great, now I really have to pee.
- Ralph Steiner would go on to be the cinematographer on future NFR entries “The Plow That Broke the Plains” and “The River”, as well as a co-director on “The City”.
- Many avant-garde filmmakers cite Ralph Steiner as an influence, so he’s got that going for him.
- “H2O” would be remade in 1998 starring Jamie Lee Curtis.