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At the moment I am in Barcelona for the 3rd coupDefouet International Art Nouveau congress. This congress is organised every 2-3 years and subjects differ every edition. Main goal is to fully explore and bring to light the value of Art Nouveau heritage.

In this third edition the main thematic strand proposes to look into new perspectives on Art Nouveau heritage of cities by means of cinematographic language. For the sake of documenting everything in detail, I have listed all presentations below. As soon as the papers are available, I will link those to the list as well.

Opening of the 3rd coupDefouet congress in Barcelona

III coupDefouet International Congress 2018 – Day 1

Strand 1 The Filmed City: Art Nouveau and Cinema

This strand aims to look into new perspectives on Art Nouveau heritage of cities by means of cinematographic language, given the coincidence in the time of the birth of both. Papers relating the city with footage from the age of birth and apogee of Art Nouveau, as well as other later filmed material related to this artistic movement, will be selected. Communications may address representation systems from the official or amateur point of view, analysing them on their own or compared with other cities, and also the possibilities of reconstituting what has been preserved, lost or forgotten.

Author Title
Welcome Facultat de Geography & History, University of Barcelona
Catalonia Film Institute
Opening by Teresa M. Sala The Vertiginous Metropolis: Animated Urban Scenes to the Rhythm of Media Culture
Strand 1 The Filmed City: Art Nouveau and Cinema
Keynote Speech José Enrique Monterde Art Nouveau and Cinema. Synchronies and asynchronies
Cyril Barde Art Nouveau in Transition (The Danish Girl, Tom Hooper, 2015)
Isabel Fabregat, Irene Gras & Teresa M. Sala Celebrities and Filmed Urban Landscapes in the Context of Primo de Rivera’s Dictatorship
Marta Piñol Lloret Art Nouveau as a catalyst for exoticism in films of the 20s: L’Atlantide (Jacques Feyder, 1921), Salomé (Charles Bryant, 1923) and The Thief of Bagdad (Raoul Walsh, 1924)
María Pilar Poblador Muga Luis Buñuel and the Art nouveau: Memories of his childhood in Calanda and Saragossa and his influence in the scenography of the film “Él” (1953)
Núria F. Rius Modernisme Snapshoted. Technological Performance and Embodied Experience of Barcelona by Amateurs from the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya
Raffaella Russo Spena Cinema and the City by the avant-garde: Gaudi’s architecture and Antonioni’s “The Passenger”
Pablo Sánchez Izquierdo Filming Life by the Sea. Harbour, Bonfires and Evocations in Alicante (1905-1932)
Lluïsa Suárez Carmona Cinematographic Filming in Barcelona during the Art Nouveau Period
Ingrid Stigsdotter The Industrial Arts Exhibition in Stockholm, 1909: an I-Media-Cities Case Study
Change of Venue to Filmoteca de Catalunya
Special Session Presentation of the I-Media Cities Project Art Nouveau Footage
Guided Visit & Dinner Buffet Antoni Gaudí’s Güell Pavilions

The presentation I was looking forward to the most, was the one by Cyril Barde about the movie The Danish Girl (by Tom Hooper, 2015). Well, Cyril’s views were very interesting. And I agree with him on the fact that is was rather confusing when the couple in the film moved to Paris and we then see them in all these luscious Art Nouveau buildings like the Horta House, the Max Hallet House, the Falstaff and the Hannon House of which we know they are located in Brussels! But some of the explanations he had for scenes and decors in the movie were a little far-fetched for me. I will have to ask him if they were his own interpretations or the official reading of the maker of the film…

The talk by Raffaella Russo Spena made me want to see the movie The Passenger (by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) with Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider as it was filmed in Gaudi buildings. Apparently some of the locations that form the decor in the movie no longer exist!

And lastly, I will need to find a copy of the movie The Thief of Bagdad (by Raoul Walsh, 1924). The movie tells the story of a thief who falls in love with the daughter of the Caliph of Bagdad and – as I learned from Marta Piñol Lloret’s presentation – is a wonderful example of Oriëntalism in Western arts. There are clear similarities with the work of famous illustrators of the time, such as my favourite Edmund Dulac.

Furthermore we saw a lot of film-material from the early days of filming, showing cities like Barcelona and Alicante during the fin-de-siècle period. But the only conclusion I could draw from these papers / films was that people who were filming during the Art Nouveau period where unfortunately not at all interested in Art Nouveau architecture! They filmed life in the streets but no Art Nouveau building featured in any of their films… So, should we investigate more film-material to find the Art Nouveau buildings? Or was there really no-one interested in Art Nouveau at the time? Time with tell as the I-Media-Cities project develops.

After this long first day of the congress, we all moved to Antoni Gaudi’s Güell Pavilions for a small tour and a buffet dinner at the gardens. Evenings like this are excellent for networking with colleagues, meeting new people and catching-up with old friends!

PS. During the congress I am communicating live from Barcelona, so if you cannot join us here, and like to be in the loop: follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

(You can read my blogs about the previous cDf congress in Barcelona here.)

Read More:
III coupDefouet International Congress official website
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Scientific Committee