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May 1998, Week 2


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mon, 11 May 1998 14:07:56 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (39 lines)
Dan Gribbin comments:
> This is a bit of a side issue to the question of paintings used in
> titles, but it seems to me that films which involve artists at work have
> posed a problem which some have handled better than others, namely the
> problem of depicting the paintings themselves.  "The Moderns" was mentioned
> in a recent posting, a film which I remember as presenting some rather
> unconvincing art on the canvas of the painter-at-work.  An innovative,
> though somewhat problematical approach, was used in "I've Heard the
> Mermaids Singing," where the canvases were never directly seen but were
> made to glow ineffably around their edges as seen from behind or from the
> side.  Keeping in mind that Polly is seen as being star-struck by the art
> scene, which is ultimately satirized for its lack of humanity, the glow may
> be in part satirical.  We might explore some other examples of films which
> deal with the problem of depicting artists at work.  (I know there are a
> number that depict famous art works in gallery settings, but I'm referring
> here to work in progress, so to speak.)  Ciao.  Dan.
It's notoriously difficult to display artists at work without resorting
to cliches such as throwing their brushes away in a fit of temper.  One
of the most effective films I know of that tries to do this is Peter
Watkins' EDVARD MUNCH, which gives us the sound of the brush and the
pallette knife at work on the canvas and shows details of his
innovative woodblock and other print processes.
I've never seen Clouzot's LE MYSTERE PICASSO, but I suspect it would be
worth a glance to see the old man himself at work.
Don Larsson
Donald Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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