Ghosts Before Breakfast: The Appetite for the Beyond in Early Avant-Garde Film
Hans Richter’s Vormittagsspuk is traditionally regarded as one of the key works of avant-garde filmmaking in the 1920s. Scholars have focused primarily on Richter’s experimental techniques, formal aspects of the work, and its Dadaist images of burlesque play. Less attention has been paid to the links with Spiritualism and other modern esoteric currents. The film’s imagery shows obvious traces of the epistemology of modern esotericism, its visions of the magical power of the aesthetic imagination, and its conceptions of electronic media and manifestations of phenomena from other dimensions. Richter’s film is a noteworthy document of the important role of esoteric discourse in shaping cultural modernity in the early twentieth century.