Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

An excerpt from the review in The Guardian:

Francofonia evokes the history of the Louvre from the Renaissance to the present day, and creates playful acting vignettes from historical and mythic figures, required to roam the Louvre’s corridors. Marianne (Johanna Korthals Altes), symbol of the French republic, declaims, “Liberty, equality, fraternity” and at one stage sits next to Napoleon (Vincent Nemeth) as together they scrutinise the Mona Lisa. What a luxury to do that without the crowds!

But the key historical point of Francofonia is the catastrophe of 1940 and the Nazi invasion of Paris. A German apparatchik called Count Franz Wolff-Metternich (played by Benjamin Utzerath) is assigned the job of assessing the extent of the treasures that had been removed from the Louvre and secreted around the country. The museum was largely empty, apart from its monumental sculpture: an echoing, vast sepulchral chamber. Wolff-Metternich is at first a strutting German officer, curtly demanding cooperation and indeed collaboration from the museum’s coolly courteous director Jacques Jaujard (Louis-Do De Lencquesaing) who is one of the few civil servants not to have fled the city.

Amid the palimpsest of scenes, sketches, images and ideas, Sokurov creates a fascinatingly subtle duel and then a growing understanding and even friendship between the two men. Unlike on the eastern front, where Bolshevik Russia’s art treasures were casually looted or destroyed, Nazi Germany affected an elaborate respect for France’s culture and art, as personified by the Louvre. Wolff-Metternich finds himself developing a rapport with Jaujard; he is after all a cultured man who is awed by the treasures that war has delivered into his administrative hands. And perhaps Jaujard thought he could civilise Wolff-Metternich and perhaps the brutal Nazi invader itself. It was not to be.

Francofonia is a fascinating essay and meditation on art, history and humanity’s idea of itself.

The film is now playing at Cinema du Parc.

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The show “Nobody was Interested. Nobody Asked” continues at the Dollard Gallery until this Sunday, March 13.

Address: 12001 de Salaberry in DDO

Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 12 – 4, Thursday-Friday 2 – 5 and Saturday-Sunday 1 – 4.

On Sunday at 1 pm the film on which the exhibition is based will be screened. The film, by Max Beer and Deena Dlusy-Apel, is about the immigrant experience of Jewish refugees who came to Canada after WWII. The topic is particularly relevant for us today as Canada welcomes Syrian refugees.

Artists in the exhibition are Rita Briansky, Shoshana Caplan, Suzy Charto, Steven Cooper, Deena Dlusy-Apel, Dorothy Grostern and Shirley Katz. 

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florenceuffizi_inthegallery_655x250_enThe Kirkland Cineplex offers seven films about art in the new year. Go to their website to see more details and to order tickets.

Florence and the Uffizi Gallery, January 21 (3-D) and February 21 (2-D)

Goya: Visions of Flesh and Blood, February 11 and 28

Renoir: Reviled and Revered, March 10 and 20

Teatro alla Scala: Temple of Wonders, March 31 (3-D) and April 3 (2-D)

Leonardo Da Vinci: The Genius in Milan, April 14 (3-D) and May 1 (2-D)

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, May 19 and 29

The Papal Basilicas of Rome, June 9 (3-D and 2-D)


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Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

This recently-released film, directed by Lisa Vreeland, is a portrait of a truly remarkable woman.

Peggy Guggenheim was born into a well-to-do family whose members ranged from the eccentric to the criminally insane. In 1920, at the age of 22, she left her New York home for Paris where she immersed herself in the bohemian life. She opened her first gallery in London in early 1938, and found herself on a buying trip to France at the outbreak of World War II.

Using her contacts in Paris and a budget of $40,000, she snapped up many works of modern art, setting herself a goal of “one a day”. Artists were desperate to sell their work at that point, with the closing of many French galleries and the campaign of the German occupiers to condemn progressive work as “degenerate”. When finished, she had acquired ten Picassos, forty Ernsts, eight Mirós, four Magrittes, three Man Rays, three Dalís, one Klee, and one Chagall, among others. She opened her New York museum/gallery in 1942.

Ms. Guggenheim considered her “discovery” of Jackson Pollock to be one of her major achievements. Another was surely the establishment of her museum of modern art in Venice, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

The film itself is a standard documentary, nowhere near as colourful as the life of its subject. Some of those interviewed express opinions about Guggenheim’s appearance and personal life which seem inappropriate to the modern viewer. At least one of the journalists who converse with Guggenheim is unskilled in the art of the interview. Despite these shortcomings, the movie paints a vivid picture of an extraordinary person, the fascinating people she drew into in her circle, and the vibrant world of mid-century art, both American and European.

The film is playing at Cinema du Parc until at least December 24, along with a Hitchcock retrospective.

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Helen Frankenthaler

Trespass, Helen Frankenthaler, 1974

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is offering a film program about women artists in conjunction with its exhibition of the Beaver Hall Group. Recently two films were screened together, one about Georgia O’Keeffe and another on Helen Frankenthaler.

Born into privilege in Manhattan in 1928, Frankenthaler began exhibiting her abstract expressionist paintings in the early 1950’s. She is credited with inspiring a new movement, Color Field painting. One of her innovations was to work with very dilute pigment, first oil and later acrylics. When applied, these paints stained the canvas rather than lying on top of it, much as dye is absorbed by cloth. This allowed her to create very atmospheric effects.

For Hiroshige, Helen Frankenthaler, 1981

The best part of the film was showing the artist at work. What struck me about her process was how restrained she was in applying her paint to the canvas. Whether she made a broad stroke across an enormous canvas with a mop-like brush, or licked a dollop of thickened paint off with a single finger, she was always looking for an instance of beauty, of interest. She allowed the properties of the paint to make their own magic.

The Human Edge, Helen Frankenthaler, 1967

Said Frankenthaler,

What concerns me when I work, is not whether the picture is a landscape, or whether it’s pastoral, or whether somebody will see a sunset in it. What concerns me is – did I make a beautiful picture?

Coming up in the film series are “Frida, Nature Vivant”, “Finding Vivian Maier” and “Alice Neal”. More information is available at the museum’s “What’s On” site.

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