Film and Art Collide in Picasso and Braque


Art dealer and sometimes-director Arne Glimcher intersects his careers in this meandering hour-long documentary round-table discussing how Picasso, Braque, and prewar avant-garde Paris as a whole were thrilled and challenged by the motion-picture medium, one of the “new technologies that promised the annihilation of time and space as it was known.” Glimcher has called in favors, interviewing the art world’s marquee names, who generally digress to their own work, preoccupations, and BS. Keeping things relatively on-topic are Marty Scorsese as kind-of host/narrator and some surprisingly concise and photogenic academics. As the topic is expanded upon, a rather big and obvious thesis billows up: Instead of wasting away in Axel’s Castle, the artists of the Belle Époque were influenced by and engaged with the increasingly frenetic society around them. Picasso and Braque‘s primary merit is its archive-raiding evocation of the period discussed through vintage nitrate images, including two-reelers of Georges Méliès malleable trick-photography bodies (laff-tracked), Wright Bros. flyers, Loie Fuller’s Serpentine Dance, and the moving sidewalks of the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, the event that was Picasso’s invitation to the cultural capitol.