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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Entr’acte by René Clair

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One of the best—and most entertaining—films to come out of the Dada/Surrealist period, Entr’acte (1924) is also worth watching for the appearance of notable figures such as Francis Picabia (who initiated the project), Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Erik Satie.

This extraordinary early film from director René Clair was originally made to fill an interval between two acts of Francis Picabia’s new ballet, Relâche, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris in 1924. Picabia famously wrote a synopsis for the film on one sheet of note paper, headed Maxim’s (the famous Parisian restaurant), which he sent to René Clair. This formed the basis for what ultimately appeared on screen, with some additional improvisations. Music for the film was composed by the famous avant-garde composer Erik Satie, who appears in the film, along side its originator, Francis Picabia. The surrealist photographer Man Ray also puts in an appearance, in a film which curiously resembles his own experimental films of this era.

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Entr’acte is a surrealistic concoction of unrelated images, reflecting Clair’s interest in Dada, a fashionable radical approach to visual art which relied on experimentation and surreal expressionism. Clair’s imagery is both captivating and disturbing, giving life to inanimate objects (most notably the rifle range dummies), whilst attacking conventions, even the sobriety of a funeral march.

Entr’acte can be watched and downloaded at Ubuweb. Tate Modern is running a major exhibition of the works of three of the participants, Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, until 26 May, 2008.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Alexander Hammid
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Short films by Walerian Borowczyk
The South Bank Show: Francis Bacon
Rose Hobart by Joseph Cornell
Some YoYo Stuff
Beckett directs Beckett
Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren
Not I by Samuel Beckett
La Villa Santo Sospir by Jean Cocteau
Un Chant D’Amour by Jean Genet
Borges documentary
Film by Samuel Beckett
Towers Open Fire

 


 

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