Frequent Small Meals presents
Film Love #63
The world of Jean Painlevé
(Surrealist Classics part 1)
curated by Andy Ditzler
co-sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Jean Painlevé, 1935
The astonishing underwater films of scientist and Surrealist fellow-traveler Jean Painlevé, along with a classic by his friend Jean Vigo, and a selection of very early science and medicine films from 1880s-1920s France.
Son of a Prime Minister, Surrealist author, collaborator with Antonin Artaud, and underwater scientist, Jean Painlevé was above all a filmmaker of extraordinary visual sense and sly wit. He was as much a part of the Surrealist movement as the scientific community, and his breathtaking images of sea life – mating octopi, seahorses giving birth, microscopic detail of sea urchins – have a built-in affinity with Surrealism.
A selection of Painlevé’s recently rediscovered films will be accompanied by some of his influences: a remarkable medical film from the 1890s, Etienne-Jules Marey’s early moving image experiments from the 1880s, and Jean Comandon's 1920s science films of plants blooming in time-lapse and mushroom cells fighting off parasites. Finally, Painlevé’s artistic friendship with the great director Jean Vigo will be explored with a screening of Vigo’s A Propos de Nice – a classic study of the French seaside city.
Etienne Jules-Marey, early moving image experiments, 1880s, 3 minutes
Dr. Doyen, La séparation des Sœurs Siamoises (The Separation of Siamese Twins), 1898, 2 minutes
1920s films by Jean Comandon:
Les Champignons Prédateurs (Predatory Mushrooms), excerpt
Le Croissance des végétaux (The Growth of Plants), excerpt
films by Jean Painlevé:
Hyas et Sténorinques (Hyas and Stenorhynchus), 1929, 10 minutes
L'Hippocampe (The Sea Horse), 1934, 14 minutes
Oursins (Sea Urchins), 1954, 10 minutes
Les amours de la pieuvre (The Love Life of the Octopus), 1965, 13 minutes
Acéra ou le bal des sorcières (Acera or the Witches' Dance), 1972, 10 minutes
Jean Vigo, A Propos de Nice, 1930, 20 minutes screened in 16mm
image from Jean Comandon's The Growth of Plants (1920s)
image from Jean Painlevé's The Love Life of the Octopus (1965)
SURREALIST SCIENCE is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to rare but important films, and seeks to increase awareness of the rich history of experimental and avant-garde film. The series is curated and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006.