Part 1
Surrealist Science: the world of Jean
Friday, November 14, 2008
8:00 PM at

Co-sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

The astonishing underwater films of scientist and Surrealist fellow-traveler Jean
Painlevé, along with a classic by his friend Jean Vigo, and a selection of very early science and medicine films from 1880s-1920s France.

Jean Painlevé, 1935

Son of a Prime Minister, Surrealist author, collaborator with Antonin Artaud, and underwater scientist, Jean Painlevé was above all a filmmaker of extraordinary visual sense and sly wit. He was as much a part of the Surrealist movement as the scientific community, and his breathtaking images of sea life – mating octopi, seahorses giving birth, microscopic detail of sea urchins – have a built-in affinity with Surrealism.

A selection of Painlevé’s recently rediscovered films will be accompanied by some of his influences: a remarkable medical film from the 1890s, Etienne-Jules Marey’s early moving image experiments from the 1880s, and Jean Comandon's 1920s science films of plants blooming in time-lapse and mushroom cells feeding. Finally, Painlevé’s artistic friendship with the great director Jean Vigo will be explored with a screening of Vigo’s A Propos de Nice – a surreal documentary on the French seaside city.

Etienne Jules-Marey, early moving image experiments, 1880s, 3 minutes
Dr. Doyen, La séparation des Sœurs Siamoises (The Separation of Siamese Twins), 1898, 2 minutes
films by
Jean Comandon:
Les Champignons Prédateurs (Predatory Mushrooms), excerpt
Le Croissance des végétaux (The Growth of Plants), excerpt

films by
Jean Painlevé:
Hyas et Sténorinques (Hyas and Stenorhynchus), 1929, 10 minutes
L'Hippocampe (The Sea Horse), 1934, 14 minutes
Oursins (Sea Urchins), 1954, 10 minutes
Les amours de la pieuvre (The Love Life of the Octopus), 1965, 13 minutes
Acéra ou le bal des sorcières (Acera or the Witches' Dance), 1972, 10 minutes

Jean Vigo
, A Propos de Nice, 1930, 20 minutes   screened in 16mm

program subject to change

image from Jean Comandon's The Growth of Plants (1920s) image from Jean Painlevé's Acera or the Witches' Dance (1972)


microcinematography of Jean Comandon image from Jean Painlevé's The Love Life of the Octopus

290 Martin Luther King Jr Dr Suite 8, Atlanta, GA, 30312

Go to PART 2 of Surrealist Classics - The Golden Age: the collaborative films of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí

SURREALIST SCIENCE is a Film Love event, programmed and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love exists to provide access to great but rarely-screened films, and to promote awareness of the rich history of experimental and avant-garde film. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006.

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