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.
III coupDefouet International Congress 2018 – Day 1
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.
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!
III coupDefouet International Congress official website
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