Circus performers again showed up in his work in a series, in which acrobats with tentaclelike limbs appear to float or swim in the space above the ring. He employed glass-bottomed boats for some, but most of the early works, including La Pieuvre , were made in the studio.
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He quickly immersed himself, playing poker with the Surrealists and piano for Kiki at the Montparnasse nightclub Le Jockey. I collaborated with Goll because his little play seemed like fun-not because I was against the others. But for the Surrealists, there were clear divisions. Sexy sea life, mermaids and the erotic octopus are themes that recur throughout history. Even collectors were using Japanese prints as currency to support the younger generation.
Tentacle Erotica — Art in America Expression par gestes et locomotion. The backward motion of her rowing on the Marne also correlates to how the octopuses swim, their tentacles swooshing like the motion of oars to propel them backward.
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But then one day, out of perversity, I brought her a rotten egg. She turned totally white. He describes the subject of the Nov. Their male and female hair flowing like antennae in aquatic currents, they lock shells in an armored sexual embrace. Later bathers continue on this scale, but seem to float as they toss balls to each other or cavort on the beach. Picasso depicts the bathers as if in extreme close-up, their bodies reaching to the edges of the canvas. Circus performers again showed up in his work in a series, in which acrobats with tentaclelike limbs appear to float or swim in the space above the ring.
He employed glass-bottomed boats for some, but most of the early works, including La Pieuvre , were made in the studio. Cinema proved to be the perfect medium for the meeting of science and art.
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He quickly immersed himself, playing poker with the Surrealists and piano for Kiki at the Montparnasse nightclub Le Jockey. I collaborated with Goll because his little play seemed like fun-not because I was against the others. Lombard had always been extremely popular in Paris as well as in the rest of France.
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As late as June , five months after her death and just before the Nazis banned American films in Vichy, her film, La Peur du scandale Fools for Scandal played at the Studio-Fourmi cinema in Lyon. In , Leslie Howard, like Lombard, died in a plane crash. So the war could have no place in any news from Hollywood. This would not be of much consequence in some of the obituaries from the time.
When John Barrymore died in , the Parisian press gave it short notice, and commented, more or less correctly, that the cause was some combination of pneumonia, a stomach ulcer, and cirrhosis of the liver.
In , however, Conrad Veidt died. Veidt had played Cesare, the somnambulist in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari , and had starred in a number of other German films.
He had emigrated to the United States in the late s to make movies in Hollywood and also worked in France and the United Kingdom, and appeared in his last German film in Wilhelm Tell. In the United States, of course, he was often typecast as the evil Nazi, most famously as Major Strasser in Casablanca The available obituaries in Parisian newspapers made no mention of his German films, in fact of any of his roles, nor of his expatriation from Germany. As far as I can tell, movie star obituaries were the only reports from Hollywood that Parisians received during the war.
I have posted before about how the Nazis used the cinema to try to make it seem as if the Occupation really made no difference in the lives of Parisians. The Nazis enforced a blockade on American films and on almost all news from Hollywood. But the stories that were allowed in, about Lombard or Howard or Veidt, to the exclusion of all other Hollywood reporting and even manipulated to avoid any mention of the war, nevertheless emphasized the perversity of the Occupation as well as the Nazi culture of death and dying.
Had you been on the famous thoroughfare then, your opportunities for refined cultural and commercial activities might have seemed endless. For its first program, the cinema showed the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Deeds Mr. This brings us back to Laurel and Hardy. Some, like the Gaumont-Palace in the less chic eighteenth arrondissement, were simply among the very largest cinemas.
These locations typically showed the newest films and, if they were foreign movies, in subtitled rather than dubbed prints. The distinctions between these two brands of exhibition sites were not, however, always absolute.
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Most of them only showed movies on Sundays, or perhaps also on Saturdays, and practically all of them were only open for one afternoon screening and one in the evening, usually at or , a restriction apparently mandated by law. Throughout the rest of Paris, around films, most of them either American or French, played in the neighborhood cinemas. Yet Les dames played exclusively throughout the late-summer and early-fall of , and then moved immediately and systematically to cinemas in the neighborhoods. A week later, Les dames had left the Louxor and its run had contracted to three cinemas, all of them different from the week before.
The following week, the film had crossed the eighteenth arrondissement again and gone back to the western side at the Metropole cinema, and opened at four cinemas in the seventeenth and two in the sixteenth, as well as one in the third. The films had been made by different, and very small, production companies, but their apparent combination here does seem to hint at the possibility of larger distribution firms handling films like these, and renting them in packages to neighborhood cinemas.
Parisian film exhibition itself might indicate renewed French control of the cinema after the long years of Nazi occupation, and show, as well, the connection of postwar film culture to that of the prewar period. The location on the boulevard des Italiens seemed predetermined for a cinema that honored the great magician of the movies, the man who made Le voyage dans la lune and so many other films full of astonishing sleight of hand.
In this case, then, the location of film viewing rather than the film itself, and the history of the exhibition site, asserted the continuity of French cinema and Parisian film culture. Taken together, the ads might represent the extraordinary breadth of Parisian film culture during the period, from the low-tech, high-brow German art film to the Technicolor middle-brow emptiness of the American musical.
Or, they might also be a sign that most films in Paris, even these two, were really one and the same. That film was the great sensation of , and played almost continuously in Paris at least through How did it fare, though, when it played in Paris? The Olympia was a large cinema in Paris and an important one. This exhibition strategy seems uneven enough, and then, in early March, not quite three months after its grand opening, the film was relegated to the periphery of Parisian film culture, to the Cocorico cinema in the working class twentieth arrondissement on the eastern border of the city.
There are plenty of films at the time that move through the city in ways that make perfect sense.
Even before that, though, the film showed in Hanoi, in May , and in a cinema that seems to have been as opulent as any in Paris. The King Star photo shop at boulevard de Belleville in the twentieth arrondissement, the site of the Cocorico cinema. This Universal superproduction may well have left Parisians cold, and that may have had something to do with its hit-and-miss distribution. A few years after the Paris premiere of Le Chanteur de jazz The Jazz Singer  , audiences could see silent films everywhere in Paris because of the exigencies of film exhibition—many cinemas in the city installed the necessary equipment for screening sound films only very slowly.
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When Lehmann wrote his review of Anna Christie , there were around commercial cinemas in Paris, and fully 60 of them, more than one-third, only showed silent films. We can get this information because every week Pour Vous listed Parisian cinemas by neighborhood, each of the twenty arrondissements in the city. In January Pour Vous showed almost 70 cinemas that had yet to be wired for talking films, with that number declining to 60 around the time that Anna Christie opened to fewer than 40 by November.
By Pour Vous had stopped the practice altogether of labeling cinemas as either silent or sound, which probably indicates that the conversion in exhibition technology had been completed. Neither location nor class counted for everything, however. The Aubade lingerie store on the site of the Regent cinema on the rue de Passy in the sixteenth arrondissement. There were some cinemas that made a deliberate choice against converting to the new technology. In the tenth arrondissement, the Boulevardia screened silent films exclusively at least through , which by then made it one of the few commercial locations where audiences might watch a Douglas Fairbanks film from the s, or one with Harold Lloyd.
For other cinemas, especially those not belonging to an exhibition chain, the choice was almost certainly based on the expense of the new technology. Le Comedy Club on the boulevard Bonne Nouvelle in the tenth arrondissement, the location of the Boulevardia cinema. Most of those seem to have been independent cinemas, and one of them served as a sort of all-purpose cultural center.
Because cinema was only one of the activities at La Bellevilloise, and far from the central one, it must have made little sense to install sound technology there, and this cooperative enterprise probably would have had trouble coming up with the money to do so. I should point out that during this very measured conversion to sound at Parisian exhibition sites, even approximate numbers of cinemas showing silent films can be unreliable.
Had the Bagnolet been wired for sound by then, even though Pour Vous failed to mark the transition? La Bellevilloise, still a cultural center in the twentieth arrondissement. Universal, the Hollywood studio that produced the movie, had not made a French-language version, and so Parisians saw, essentially, a silent film with music and effects.
As with the review of Anna Christie from around the same time, this seemed to make silent film—or, at least, silent film production—fully a phenomenon of the past, to be brought back only by those artists, like Chaplin, working on their own. But if we shift our sense of history just a few degrees and concentrate on film exhibition, it becomes apparent that silent cinema had a significant place in Parisian film culture far longer than we might have thought. Search for:.