Science Is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | November 21, 2002

Thursday, November 21, 2002, 8pm

1934—1976, Jean Painlevé, France, ca. 71 min, 35mm

The director of more than 200 nature films, Jean Painlevé (1902-1989) scandalized the scientific world with a cinema designed to entertain as well as edify.  Advocating the credo “science is fiction,” he endowed seahorses, vampire bats, and fanworms with human traits — erotic, comical, savage. His work was admired by Surrealists and Avant-Gardists such as Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Vigo and Luis Buñuel, and the composers who scored his films include Darius Milhaud, Pierre Jansen and Pierre Henry.  The program includes: The Sea Horse (1934), How Jellyfishes Are Born (1960), The Sea Urchins (1954), Acera or The Witches (1972), The Lovelife of the Octopus (1965), Liquid Crystals (1976). (Description courtesy of American Cinematheque)

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