Structural film was an avant-garde experimental film movement prominent in the United States in the 1960s and which developed into the Structural/materialist films in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.[1] [2]


The term was coined by P. Adams Sitney who noted that film artists had moved away from the complex and condensed forms of cinema practiced by such artists as Sidney Peterson and Stan Brakhage. "Structural film" artists pursued instead a more simplified, sometimes even predetermined art. The shape of the film was crucial, the content peripheral. This term should not be confused with the literary and philosophical term structuralism.[3]


The Flicker (1965) by Tony Conrad produces a flicker effect with black and white frames.[4]
The Flicker (1965) by Tony Conrad produces a flicker effect with black and white frames.[4]

Sitney identified four formal characteristics common in Structural films, but all four characteristics are not usually present in any single film:

  • fixed camera position (an apparently fixed framing)
  • flicker effect (strobing due to the intermittent nature of film)
  • loop printing
  • rephotography (off the screen)

It has been noted by George Maciunas that these characteristics are also present in Fluxus films.[5]

Key films

Key filmmakers

See also


  1. ^ Gidal, Peter, ed. (1978). Structural Film Anthology (PDF). London: British Film Institute. p. 150. ISBN 0-85170-0535.
  2. ^ Dictionary of Film
  3. ^ Ways of Seeing: Yoel Meranda's Web Site-Structural Film
  4. ^ Excerpt on YouTube-REVOIRVIDEO
  5. ^ Fluxus Film: George Maciunas Manifesto, Avant-Garde, and Anti-Art
  6. ^ The Flicker - Tony Conrad - The Film-Makers' Cooperative
  7. ^ Wavelength - Michael Snow - The Film-Makers' Cooperative
  8. ^ Paul Sharits: Expanding Cinema to the Beyond-Offscreen
  9. ^ Visionary Film - Google Books (pg.356)
  10. ^ Zorns Lemma - Hollis Frampton - The Film-Makers' Cooperative
  11. ^ New Works by Ernie Gehr - Harvard Film Archive
  12. ^ George Landow obituary-The Guardian
  13. ^ "The United States of America". The Criterion Channel. Archived from the original on September 27, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  14. ^ "Directed by Bette Gordon". The Criterion Channel. Archived from the original on June 26, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  15. ^ Where to begin with Hollis Frampton|BFI
  16. ^ Scratching the Surface: The Birth of Structural/Materialist Film