Picasso: Cinematic Expressions
18 - 28 March 2010
parallel to Picasso - Suite Vollard:
Engravings exhibition presents a film program entitled Picasso: Cinematic Expressions. The program includes feature films
and documentaries inspired and related to Picasso's passionate, colorful
universe as well as the various themes taking place in his exhibited works. The
two feature length documentaries The
Mystery of Picasso by Clouzet and Picasso by Didier Baussy-Oulianoff shed light on Picasso's life, character and his
works. Paris Opera Bellet's 1970s production Diaghilev, Cocteau - Picasso and
Dance presents a lesser known side of Picasso - his involvement with the
productions and creative designs. In connection with Picasso's personal
relationship with the Spanish Civil War; Victor Erice's The Spirit of the
Beehive is a haunting, atmospheric piece set in rural Spain soon after the War
depicting a family on the verge of collapse. With his engravings just as
Picasso is the sculptor and in the way of a modern Pygmalion, he first delights in the
observation of the model, to then only have eyes for his work. The film Pygmalion a
comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw tells the story
of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics who makes a bet that he can
successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl as a refined society lady by teaching
her how to speak with an upper class accent. Lastly, Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt - is a film that tells the
story of an American film producer hiring a respected director to direct a film
adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. The fillm's mythological references and the
relation of man to nature share interesting common strings with Picasso's
THE MYSTERY OF PICASSO
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cinematographer: Claude Renoir
1956, 75', Black & White, Color, Fransa / France
French with Turkish subtitle
Just as visual artists understand the relationship between positive and negative space in their work, France's master filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot understood--and set about demonstrating via The Mystery of Picasso--the relationship between creation and destruction in the artistic process. In 1955, Clouzot teamed with his friend Pablo Picasso to capture as many aspects of the brilliant painter's working methods as possible. Clouzot innovatively placed the camera in front of Picasso while the latter worked, thus capturing astonishing reverse images of brush strokes and "bleeding" inks in volatile motion. The result is that Clouzot's film--the screen, the frame--become Picasso's canvas, and we find ourselves inside his prodigious genius as works of beauty spontaneously burst forth and are instantly crushed beneath the weight of new images, new ideas.
Like a matador confronting a bull, the artist approaches his easel. As he wields his brush, the painting dances into being before our eyes. This entirely new kind of art documentary captures the moment and the mystery of creativity; for the film, the master created 20 artworks, ranging from playful black-and-white sketches to widescreen color paintings. Using inks that bled through the paper, Picasso rapidly created fanciful drawings that Clouzot was able to film from the reverse side, capturing their creation in real time. When the artist decided to paint in oils, the filmmaker switched to color film and employed the magic of stop-motion animation. "The Mystery of Picasso" is exhilarating, mesmerizing, and unforgettable; it is simply one of the greatest documentaries on art ever made. The French government in 1984 it declared the film a national treasure.
Director: Didier Baussy-Oulianoff
1985, 80', Black & White, Color
English with Turkish subtitles
Picasso was avant-garde, traditional, an erotomaniac. He is a legend whose paintings almost everyone can visualise today. His works and character had an enormous influence on 20th century art. As an artist and man, he is still one-of-a-kind, rather like the collection of his works on display at the Picasso Museum in Paris. Didier Baussy-Oulianoff presents them, sorts them according to period and establishes what inspired them. Baussy's analysis also explains why some of the paintings on display were so close to Picasso's heart that he never sold them, preferring to hold on to them until he died.
PICASSO AND DANCE
Paris Opera Ballet
Director: Didier Baussy-Oulianoff
1956, 75', Black & White, Color
English with Turkish subtitle
Between 1917 and 1962, Picasso was involved in creating the designs for nine ballets including Parade, Pulcinella and L'Après-midi d'un Faune, in collaboration with such artists as Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Léonide Massine and Vaslav Nijinsky. Le Train Bleu dates from 1924 and Le Tricorne from 1919. These two historic ballets, created originally by Sergei Diaghilev, have been revived by the Paris Opera Ballet.
Le Train Bleu is an operetta dansé of a chic and flippant society. Jean Cocteau, who wrote the scenario, mockingly celebrates the cult of open air life, fine bodies and sport. The dances are inspired by golf, tennis, swimming and acrobatics.
Le Tricorne is Spanish from start to finish. Picasso, a native of Andalusia, created sets, costumes, and a stage curtain, which evokes the atmosphere of the ballet by means of a typically Spanish scene. The story, told with humour and warmth, is of a miller's wife, her jealous husband and a senile magistrate by whom she is pursued.
The Story of a Marriage
With rare photographs and archive footage, this documentary traces the story of Picasso's collaboration with, among others, Diaghilev, Cocteau and Massine, and of his designs for the ballet, from 1917 to 1924, inspired by his Russian wife, Olga Koklova.
THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE
Director: Victor Erice
Cast: Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Queti de la Cámara
1973, 99', Color
Spanish with Turkish subtitle
Victor Erice's hauntingly beautiful film features one of the most unforgettable child performances in the history of cinema. Hailed as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s, Erice's visually elegant "poem of awakening" takes place in a small Castilian village in the early 1940s, as echoes of the Spanish Civil Wart can still be heard throughout the countryside. It is here, in this richly rural atmosphere, that six-year-old Ana (played by six-year-old Ana Torrent) is introduced to alternate world of myth and imagination when she attends a town-hall showing of James Whale's Frankenstein, an experience that forever alters young Ana's perception of the world around her... and her ability to mold reality to her own imaginative purposes.
Director: Leslie Howard, Anthony Asquith
Cast: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr, Scott Sunderland
1938, 96', Black & White
English with Turkish subtitles
Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a "proper lady" in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. This Academy Award-winning inspiration for Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady was directed by Anthony Asquith and star Howard, edited by David Lean, and scripted by Shaw himself.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Fritz Lang, Jack Palance
1964, 102', Color
Godard pursues an iconoclast's agenda, using the Franscope format (expertly controlled by cinematographer Raoul Coutard) to undermine the grandeur of widescreen melodramas. The story ostensibly concerns an innovative production of Homer's Odyssey and the struggle of a respected screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to please a pugnacious producer (Jack Palance), a veteran director (Fritz Lang, essentially playing himself), and a petulant wife (Brigitte Bardot) who's grown tired of their turbulent relationship. It's all pretense, however, for Godard's mischievous (and yes, contemptuous) deconstruction of commercial Hollywood filmmaking, potently infused with film-buff in-jokes, astute observations about love, stardom, and artistry, and enough glossy style to suggest that Godard had mastered the craft he so willfully rejects. Contempt is one of his most accessibly fascinating films.
"Contempt" is about men and women rendered graceless by their times, but the movie, substituting rigorous aesthetics for the novel's psychology, shows us where they (and we) went wrong and achieves an extraordinary grace