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Review: Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

Linking movies and Cubist painting
By GERALD PEARY  |  June 24, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars


Picasso seems to have done so, though preferring Chaplin slapstick and cowboy silents to artsy fare, and biographers place him at several screenings of Lumière shorts.

Maybe Braque loved cinema too, but, believe it or not, there isn’t a single example of him attending a movie in this documentary about his going to the movies! Even more troubling, there’s no proof anywhere of this film’s key premise — that cinema was the catalyst for these artists’ pre–World War I forays into Cubism. One interviewed art critic can do no better than the idea that there’s a conceptual relationship between movies and Cubist painting, that both foreground “objects transforming.”

So why bother with this Martin Scorsese–produced, Arne Glimcher–directed documentary? For the lovely tinted clips from early cinema. For the astute interviews with film historian Tom Gunning. And for random on-screen visits with lots of today’s best artists, the most congenial of the bunch being Chuck Close.

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