Experimental filmmaker and abstract animator Jordan Belson passed away on September 6 at the age of 85. He created more than thirty films between the 1940s and 2000s, and contributed special effects to the 1983 feature The Right Stuff. More details about his life can be found on his official page at the Center for Visual Music and in this New York Times obit. Unfortunately, Belson explicitly stated that he didn’t want his films to be posted on-line so if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you’ll have to remain unfamiliar with his work.
Film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon wrote this eloquent tribute about Belson on his blog recently:
One of the most influential non-objective filmmakers of the second half of the 20th century, Belson’s work is most like that of John and James Whitney in its vision of a world of abstract harmony and beauty. In these ultracommercial times, the idea of someone dedicating themselves to an art form that costs a lot of money and not expecting to make a lot of money almost seems unthinkable, but yes, there was a time when people made films simply for the creative satisfaction it brought, to share their vision with the world freely. Belson was never a careerist, he was an artist, and while he never achieved notoriety outside of a small circle of enthusiasts, his influence was real and lasting.
[Image at top: From the film Allures. Copyright Jordan Belson, courtesy Center for Visual Music.]