Cinema Arts Festival Houston
Menil's Rose is highlight of Picasso and Braque
Saturday afternoon the Cinema Arts Festival screened one of its highlight films, Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies. The film is an outgrowth of a New York gallery exhibition that was curated by Bernice Rose, now chief curator of The Menil Collection’s Drawing Institute and Study Center. The exhibition examined the influence that early film had on turn-of-the-century art in general and on Picasso and Georges Braque in particular.
Rose is a substantial presence in the film, and she’s joined by a variety of talking heads, such as Chuck Close and Julian Schnabel, who talk with impressive clarity on how the cubism that Braque and Picasso co-created reflects elements of early film.
But it’s the clips from pre-1910 films that steal the show.
Magician Georges Méliès’ “trick” films, which first demonstrated the ability of film to play with time and space (film can backwards and forwards; it can be spliced together to create bizarre effects) had an unmistakable influence on the Surrealists. They are also great fun to watch, even today.
Other clips include the “it’s alive” scene from Thomas Edison’s 1910 Frankenstein, and a large handful of “surreal” slapstick shorts.