Réalisation : Vincent Pianina et Bertrand Sallé
Texte et musique : Maud Octallinn
Avec l’aide de : Laurent Sériès (percussions et bruitages) Enregistrement, mixage et mastering : Igor Moreno
Why had I never heard of this?! In 1946 Disney and Dalí conceived this animated story of Chronos, the personification of time who falls in love with a mortal.
Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time”. Disney called it “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”
Read more about the collaboration and realisation of this beautiful little film HERE.
The song is performed by Dora Luz.
Hans Richter’s 1927 short Dadaist masterpiece: Ghosts Before Breakfast, re-scored.
“This film initially had a soundtrack which was lost when the original print was destroyed by the Nazis as ‘degenerate art’.
This music – with Jacques Van Rhijn on clarinet, Don Brosnan on bass, Jed Woodhouse on drums, Clive Painter on guitar – was recorded at Clive’s prior to the sessions for our re-score of Richter’s full length magnum opus: Dreams That Money Can Buy for the British Film Institute in 2005.
(Turn off the sound if you want to hear it as Richter didn’t really intend it.)”
Excerpt from an article by Aya Lurie, from the exhibition catalogue: “The Naked Eye – Surrealist Photography in the First Half of the 20th Century”, 2013:
The languishing face of a strikingly beautiful young woman is seen behind a spider web. Is she trapped behind the web? Is she trapped in it? The spider may be lying in wait for her, and maybe she is on the prowl, with her manicured feminine hands, which call to mind the articulated legs of a spider. Perhaps it is rather the lurking time, as indicated by the title of the photograph, that threatens youth and beauty, serving as a reminder of their ephemerality.
The association between the woman and the spider dates back to Greek mythology, where it is embodied in the figure of Arachne, a weaver who made Athena jealous enough to turn her into a spider.1
In the history of culture, the figure of the “spider-woman” has come to be identified with the femme fatale — the archetype of the woman who leads to the downfall of the man attracted to her. In this context, Arachne is presented as a patient plotter who spins a web of schemes to trap and devour the reckless male.2 Dr. Ruth Markus, in her essay about the representations of the castrating woman in Surrealist art, ties the female praying mantis with the female “Black Widow” spider, which characteristically devour their males during or directly after the sexual act. She explains the Surrealist interest in the mantis and similar insects in that they represent the two primordial Freudian instincts: Eros and Thanatos.3
Dora Maar linked the photographed portrait by Man Ray with a manipulated image of a cobweb, to create the effect of transparent contours on the woman’s face in the final print. The resulting photomontage thus fuses the woman’s figure with the spider and its web. The Surrealists were drawn to the mimetic ability of various animals to camouflage themselves in nature, and created many works in which flora, fauna, and the inanimate merge and assimilate into one another.4 In the spirit of pantheist romanticism, this capacity was taken to represent an aspiration to eliminate the boundaries between man and nature, to the point of total fusion with the cosmos, which leads to absolute void. It is, in fact, a yearning for a primordial unconscious state, an existential state which precedes consciousness.
In the photograph in question, the paths of two of the most fascinating women who operated among the Surrealists cross. Photographer Dora Maar (born as Henrietta Theodora Markovitch) was a talented artist in her own right, but her fame came mainly from her relationship with Pablo Picasso, her partner, who often depicted her figure. In addition, Maar also modeled for Man Ray in some of his prime photographs…
… The model in Maar’s photograph is Nusch Éluard (1906–1946, née Maria Benz), a German show dancer who, in 1934, married poet Paul Éluard, one of the kingpins of Surrealism, after his first wife, Gala, left him for Salvador Dalí… Nusch Éluard also served as inspiration for her husband’s poetic work, and he combined her photographs in his books of poetry as elaboration and illustration for the written text.
In 1935, daring nude photographs of Nusch were included in his book Facile. Following her sudden death in 1946, at the age of 40, her portrait, taken by Dora Maar (with which she constructed the montage here), was included in a book by her husband in her memory, Le temps débordé (Time Overflows). The portrait, this time without cobweb,[fig. 3] accompanied the poem “Ecstasy” in which Éluard praises and mourns his wife: “I am in front of this feminine land / Like a child in front of the fire / Smiling vaguely with tears in my eyes / […] / I am in front of this feminine land / Like a branch in the fire.”5
The narrator, named André, ruminates on a number of Surrealist principles, before ultimately commencing (around a third of the way through the novel) on a narrative account, generally linear, of his brief ten day affair with the titular character Nadja. She is so named “because in Russian it’s the beginning of the word hope, and because it’s only the beginning,” but her name might also evoke the Spanish “Nadie,” which means “No one.” The narrator becomes obsessed with this woman with whom he, upon a chance encounter while walking through the street, strikes up conversation immediately. He becomes reliant on daily rendezvous, occasionally culminating in romance (a kiss here and there).
His true fascination with Nadja, however, is her vision of the world, which is often provoked through a discussion of the work of a number of Surrealist artists, including himself. While her understanding of existence subverts the rigidly authoritarian quotidian, it is later discovered that she is mad and belongs in a sanitarium. After Nadja reveals too many details of her past life, she in a sense becomes demystified, and the narrator realises that he cannot continue their relationship.
In the remaining quarter of the text, André distances himself from her corporeal form and descends into a meandering rumination on her absence, so much so that one wonders if her absence offers him greater inspiration than does her presence. It is, after all, the reification and materialisation of Nadja as an ordinary person that André ultimately despises and cannot tolerate to the point of inducing tears.
There is something about the closeness once felt between the narrator and Nadja that indicated a depth beyond the limits of conscious rationality, waking logic, and sane operations of the everyday. There is something essentially “mysterious, improbable, unique, bewildering” about her; this reinforces the notion that their propinquity serves only to remind André of Nadja’s impenetrability.
Her eventual recession into absence is the fundamental concern of this text, an absence that permits Nadja to live freely in André’s conscious and unconscious, seemingly unbridled, maintaining her paradoxical role as both present and absent. With Nadja’s past fixed within his own memory and consciousness, the narrator is awakened to the impenetrability of reality and perceives a particularly ghostly residue peeking from under its thin veil. Thus, he might better put into practice his theory of Surrealism, predicated on the dreaminess of the experience of reality within reality itself.
Read the book here: Andre Breton – Nadja.
Another of those touchstone albums I’ve had since my teens… I am starting to realise that they have stuck with me for subliminal reasons. They just fit. And they still do.
… There is always, in such movements, a moment when the original tension of the secret society must either explode in a matter-of-fact, profane struggle for power and domination, or decay as a public demonstration and be transformed. Surrealism is in this phase of transformation at present. But at the time when it broke over its founders as an inspiring dream wave, it seemed the most integral, conclusive, absolute of movements. Everything with which it came into contact was integrated. Life only seemed worth living where the threshold between waking and sleeping was worn away in everyone as by the steps of multitudinous images flooding back and forth, language only seemed itself where, sound and image, image and sound interpenetrated with automatic precision and such felicity that no chink was left for the penny-in-the-slot called ‘meaning’.
Image and language take precedence. Saint-Pol Roux, retiring to bed about daybreak, fixes a notice on his door: ‘Poet at work.’ Breton notes: ‘Quietly. I want to pass where no one yet has passed, quietly! After you, dearest language.’ Language takes precedence. Not only before meaning. Also before the self. In the world’s structure dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth. This loosening of the self by intoxication is, at the same time, precisely the fruitful, living experience that allowed these people to step outside the domain of intoxication.
This is not the place to give an exact definition of Surrealist experience. But anyone who has perceived that the writings of this circle are not literature but something else – demonstrations, watchwords, documents, bluffs, forgeries if you will, but at any rate not literature – will also know, for the same reason, that the writings are concerned literally with experiences, not with theories and still less with phantasms. And these experiences are by no means limited to dreams, hours of hashish eating, or opium smoking. It is a cardinal error to believe that, of ‘Surrealist experiences’, we know only the religious ecstasies or the ecstasies of drugs. The opium of the people, Lenin called religion, and brought the two things closer together than the Surrealists could have liked.
I shall refer later to the bitter, passionate revolt against Catholicism in which Rimbaud, Lautreamont, and Apollinaire brought Surrealism into the world. But the true creative overcoming of religious illumination certainly does not lie in narcotics. It resides in a profane illumination, ‘a materialistic, anthropological inspiration, to which hashish, opium, or whatever else can give an introductory lesson. (But a dangerous one; and the religious lesson is stricter.)
This profane illumination did not always find the Surrealists equal to it, or to themselves, and the very writings that proclaim it most powerfully, Aragon’s incomparable Paysan de Paris and Breton’s Nadja, show very disturbing symptoms of deficiency. For example, there is in Nadja an excellent passage on the ‘delightful days spent looting Paris under the sign of Sacco and Vanzetti’; Breton adds the assurance that in those days Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle fulfilled the strategic promise of revolt ‘that had always been implicit in its name. But Madame Sacco also appears, not the wife of Fuller’s victim but avoyante, a fortune-teller who lives at 3 rue des Usines and tells Paul Eluard that he can expect no good from Nadja.
Now I concede that the breakneck career of Surrealism over rooftops, lightning conductors, gutters, verandas, weathercocks, stucco work – all ornaments are grist to the cat burglar’s mill- may have taken it also into the humid backroom of spiritualism. But I am not pleased to hear it cautiously tapping on the window-panes to inquire about its future. Who would not wish to see these adoptive children of revolution most rigorously severed from all the goings-on in the conventicles of down-at-heel dowagers, retired majors, and emigre profiteers?
In other respects Breton’s book illustrates well a number of the basic characteristics of this ‘profane illumination’. He calls Nadja ‘a book with a banging door’. (In Moscow I lived in a hotel in which almost all the rooms were occupied by Tibetan lamas who had come to Moscow for a congress of Buddhist churches. I was struck by the number of doors in the corridors that were always left ajar. What had at first seemed accidental began to be disturbing. I found out that in these rooms lived members of a sect who had sworn never to occupy closed rooms. The shock I had then must be felt by the reader of Nadja.)
To live in a glass house is a revolutionary virtue par excellence. It is also an intoxication, a moral exhibitionism, that we badly need. Discretion concerning one’s own existence, once an aristocratic virtue, has become more and more an affair of petty-bourgeois parvenus. Nadja has achieved the true, creative synthesis between the art novel and the roman-a-clef.
Moreover, one need only take love seriously to recognize in it, too – as Nadja also indicates – a ‘profane illumination’. ‘At just that time’ (i.e., when he knew Nadja), the author tells us, ‘I took a great interest in the epoch of Louis VII, because it was the time of the ‘courts of love’, and I tried to picture with great intensity how people saw life then.’ We have from a recent author quite exact information on Provencal love poetry, which comes surprisingly close to the Surrealist conception of love. ‘All the poets of the ‘new style’,’ Erich Auerback points out in his excellent Dante: Poet of the Secular World, ‘possess a mystical beloved, they all have approximately the same very curious experience of love; to them all Amor bestows or withholds gifts that resemble an illumination more than sensual pleasure; all arc subject to a kind of secret bond that determines their inner and perhaps also their outer-lives’. The dialectics of intoxication are indeed curious. Is not perhaps all ecstasy in one world humiliating sobriety in that complementary to it? What is it that courtly Minne seeks, and it, not love, binds Breton to the telepathic girl, if not to make chastity, too, a transport? Into a world that borders not only on tombs of the Sacred Heart or altars to the Virgin, but also on the morning before a battle or after a victory.The lady, in esoteric love, matters least. So, too, for Breton. He is closer to the things that Nadja is close to than to her. What are these things? Nothing could reveal more about Surrealism than their canon.Where shall I begin? He can boast an extraordinary discovery. He was the first to perceive the revolutionary energies that appear in the ‘outmoded’, in the first iron constructions, the first factory buildings, the earliest photos, the objects that have begun to be extinct, grand pianos, the dresses of five years ago, fashionable restaurants when the vogue has begun to ebb from them. The relation of these things to revolution, no one can have a more exact concept of it than these authors. No one before these visionaries and augurs perceived how destitution – not only social but architectonic, the poverty of interiors/enslaved and enslaving objects – can be suddenly transformed into revolutionary nihilism. Leaving aside Aragon’s Passage de I’Opera, Breton and Nadja are the lovers who convert everything that we have experienced on mournful railway journeys (railways are beginning to age), on Godforsaken Sunday afternoons in the proletarian quarters of the great cities, in the first glance through the rain-blurred window of a new apartment, into revolutionary experience, if not action. They bring the immense forces of ‘atmosphere’ concealed in these things to the point of explosion. What form do you suppose a life would take that was determined at a decisive moment precisely by the street song last on everyone’s lips?
Oh how I want you to remember,
this song was yours,
it was your favourite, I think
Written by Prévert and Kosma.
And each time “Fallen Leaves”
brings back my memories of you,
day after day
the fallen loves
are never done dying.
I abandon myself to other’s arms, of course
but their song is dull
and I grow ever more indifferent,
there is no helping it.
Because each time “Fallen Leaves”
brings back my memories of you,
day after day
the fallen loves
are never done dying.
Is it ever possible to know
the beginning or the end of indifference?
May fall pass, may winter come,
and may Prévert’s song,
vanish from my memories,
and on that day
my fallen loves
will be done dying.
And on that day,
my fallen loves
will be done dying.
Relâche, ballet instantanéiste en deux actes: un entr’acte cinématographique, et “la queque de chien” is a 1924 ballet by Francis Picabia with music composed by Erik Satie. The title was thought to be a Dadaist practical joke, as relâche is the French word used on posters to indicate that a show is cancelled, or the theatre is closed (and the first performance was indeed cancelled, due to the illness of Jean Börlin, the principal dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of the Ballets Suédois).
Picabia commissioned filmmaker René Clair to create a cinematic entr’acte to be shown during the ballet’s intermission. The film, simply titled Entr’acte, consists of a scene shown before the ballet and a longer piece between the acts. The score was also composed by Satie.
Entr’acte premiered as an entr’acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 1924. The Dadaists collaborating on the project invented a new mode of production: instantanéisme. Watching the 20 minute film involves seeing people running in slow motion, things happening in reverse, looking at a ballet dancer from underneath, watching an egg over a fountain of water get shot and instantly become a bird, and watching people disappear. The cast included cameo appearances by Francis Picabia, Erik Satie, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp. The conductor of the orchestra at the premiere was Roger Désormière. The edition of the soundtrack featured here was conducted in 1967 by Henri Sauguet.
When we fall, let us fall inwards.
Let us fall freely and completely:
that we may find our depth and humility:
the solid earth from which we may rise up and love again.
— Michael Leunig
The Guardian review from Cannes 2013 has this to say:
The extinct volcano of underground cinema has burst into life once again — with a bizarre, chaotic and startling film; there are some longueurs and gimmicks, but The Dance of Reality is an unexpectedly touching and personal work. At the age of 84, and over 20 years since his last movie, Alejandro Jodorowsky has returned to his hometown of Tocopilla in the Chilean desert to create a kind of magic-realist memoir of his father, Jaime Jodorowsky, a fierce Communist whose anger at the world — at his son — was redoubled by the anti-Semitism the family faced.
Of course, the entire story is swathed in surreal mythology, dream logic and instant day-glo legend, resembling Fellini, Tod Browning, Emir Kusturica, and many more. You can’t be sure how to extract conventional autobiography from this. Despite the title, there is more “dance” than “reality” — and that is the point. Or part of the point. For the first time, Jodorowsky is coming close to telling us how personal evasiveness has governed his film-making style; his flights of fancy are flights of pain, flights from childhood and flights from reality. And now he is using his transformative style to come to terms with and change the past and to confer on his father some of the heroism that he never attained in real life.
Read more of this review HERE.
“Freedom’s just another word for ‘nothing left to lose’…”
Sadly, this is a far more profound symbolic critique of Roman Catholic oppression than anything FEMEN is ever likely to pull off (notwithstanding their tops)!
L’Age d’or or The Golden Age (1930), directed by Luis Buñuel, a French surrealist comedy, and one of the first films with synchronous sound ever made in France, was about the insanities of modern life, the hypocrisy of the sexual mores of bourgeois society and the value system of the Roman Catholic Church. Salvador Dalí and Buñuel wrote the screenplay together.
The BBC called it “an exhilarating, irrational masterpiece of censor-baiting chutzpah.”
Regarding the response of the establishment to the film, from Wikipedia:
Upon receiving a cinematic exhibition permit from the Board of Censors, L’Âge d’or had its premiere presentation at Studio 28, Paris, on 29 November 1930. Later, on 3 December 1930, the great popular success of the film provoked attacks by the right-wing Ligue des Patriotes (League of Patriots), whose angry viewers took umbrage at the story told by Buñuel and Dalí. The reactionary French Patriots interrupted the screening by throwing ink at the cinema screen and assaulting viewers who opposed them; they then went to the lobby and destroyed art works by Dalí, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, and others. On 10 December 1930, the Prefect of Police of Paris, Jean Chiappe, arranged to have the film banned from further public exhibition after the Board of Censors re-reviewed the film.
A contemporary right-wing Spanish newspaper published a condemnation of the film and of Buñuel and Dalí, which described the content of the film as “…the most repulsive corruption of our age … the new poison which Judaism, Masonry, and rabid, revolutionary sectarianism want to use in order to corrupt the people”. In response, the de Noailles family withdrew L’Âge d’or from commercial distribution and public exhibition for more than forty years; nonetheless, three years later, in 1933, the film was privately exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City. Forty-nine years later, from 1-15 November 1979, the film had its legal U.S. premiere at the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco.
The film critic Robert Short said that the scalp-decorated crucifix and the scenes of socially repressive violence, wherein the love-struck protagonist is manhandled by two men, indicate that the social and psychological repression of the libido and of romantic passion and emotion, by the sexual mores of bourgeois society and by the value system of the Roman Catholic Church, breed violence in the relations among people, and violence by men against women. The opening sequence of the film alludes to that interpretation, by Dalí and Buñuel, with an excerpt from a natural science film about the scorpion, which is a predatory arthropod whose tail is composed of five prismatic articulations that culminate in a stinger with which it injects venom to the prey. Film critic Ado Kyrou said that the five vignettes in the tale of L’Âge d’Or correspond to the five sections of the tail of the scorpion.
from SENS PLASTIQUE
A bicycle rolls on the road.
The road is the third wheel
Rolling the other two.
The water says to the wave,
“You are swallowing me.”
“How could I?”
Replied the wave,
“I am your mouth.”
Said to the sun,
“Do you see me?”
“No,” said the sun.
“I am your eyes.”
With their peaks
Were touching a cloud.
For an instant
The cloud felt
Unable to find
When the fine
Seized the branch
The branch gave way
And the flower
Stuck its head out
To see what was going on.
The fan’s in the wind’s hand
You feel cool.
“I’ve gone all the way around
One man said.
And all that time
You haven’t progressed
Half an inch
In your body.”
Turned the eyes
The iris followed
The white of the eye
Just long enough
To slip into the face
Of the one you love.
“I love you,”
The woman said.
Said her lover,
“Don’t love me
Or you’ll come back
Love is round.”
“One and one
Said the mathematician.
To God and the zero?
As much as you like
Will you find
The skeleton of wind
In life itself.
Is a oneactor
Of the body
Comes only in death.
Said the man
“I have hope.”
If light unfurled
Its peacock tail
There would be
What it tastes like.
A taste of sugar.
Hears its heart beat
In the rain.
Is an alibi
For the center
And the center
Is a pretext
For the circle.
The quickest route
Is the Universe.
Up its sleeve.
Is a rimless
In both directions
It stands still.
The flower said
To the sun,
bit off bits of itself
Of the piano.
To her teeth.
For the afternoon
To play golf
With the holes.
Out of its depth
On the shore
In such a hurry
To get to life
Let him go.
In his eyes
And brought him
Of the road.