Cinematic Underground

Welcome to the Cinematic Underground, an introductory guide to the world of experimental film.

Cinephiles are those people who have created an obsession out of their love for film. They love where the movies take them so much that fictional worlds have become permanent fixtures of their realities.

But I believe that there’s more that connects cinephiles than just a love of film. They love learning. They love art. They value diversity and stories from all areas of life. They aim to have a casual knowledge of the technical side of filmmaking.

That is why I’ve decided to write a little about the most overlooked group of cinematic geniuses: filmmakers of the avant-garde and experimental. In the last year, I’ve been shocked to find how much deeper the jungles of the film world are. There are truly whole careers and masterpieces which never get attention from most critics, reviewers, bloggers, and audiences.

For film buffs, this is the best surprise. It turns out a cinephile’s self-education doesn’t have to end with discovering Bela Tarr’s 7-hour Satantango or Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day or Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 14-part series, Berlin Alexanderplatz.

I used to imagine that there were stages of cinephiliac discovery that occurred more or less in a certain order: Hollywood cinema, Independent cinema, European auteur cinema, world cinema. I was foolish to think I knew it all. As I’m learning about that next, most boundary-pushing category of film, the experimental, I hope you decide you would like to learn a little as well.

Click on a filmmaker below to get started:


Maya Deren

Jean-Marie Straub + Daniele Huillet

Robert Downey Sr.