In summer 2015, Turku Art Museum Darkroom will showcase Belle comme le jour (2012), a 13-minute short film by French artists Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Tristan Bera. A tribute to auteur directors, the film takes as its starting point Luis Buñuel’s Belle de jour (1967) and Manoel Olivieira’s Belle toujours (2006) and presents the main character of the films, Séverine, before she becomes Pierre’s wife and a brothel belle.
In a cool and elegant reinterpretation brimming with cinematic references, a young woman very much like Catherine Deneuve lives in Hôtel Regina and visits the Louvre and ends up having in a disturbing conversation with an unknown man. Séverine is deeply affected by the story of a monk and a dog, which knocks her onto a path of seduction, pleasure and obsession – and the punishment that follows from them. The work is a study of unconscious desires, masochism and submission, but can also be seen as a way for a passionate cinephile to imitate films in his or her own life. Belle comme le jour plays with the idea of bringing together on the screen the lovers Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni as well as directors who have left an indelible mark on cinema: Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, François Truffaut and Roman Polanski.
Museum people are smart, they are pretty, they are nervous too (from Vertigo to Stendhal syndrome)
Tuesday 2 June at 4 pm at the Studio in Turku City Library (Linnankatu 2)
restates the negativeness, the hideous, lonely emptiness of existence,
nothingness, the predicament of man forced to live in a barren, godless
eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void of nothing but
waste, horror, degradation, forming a useless, bleak straight jacket in a
black, absurd cosmos."
The museum girl says in Play it again, Sam (1972)
The museum display is a favorable environment for movie set, for artworks are significant stimuli for characters and actions. There are many noteworthy examples of museum scenes in the history of cinema. Some are romantic like in Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979) or burlesque like in Play it again, Sam (1972). Some are dramatic occasions for characters to look deep inside themselves like in Rosselini's Journey to Italy (1954) and Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), or to run after each other like in erotic crime thriller films. Others are purely performative and sporty like in Jean-Luc Godard's Bande à Part (1964) turning cinema characters into performance artists. But all these scenes are situated at the crossroads of visual art, cinema and art criticism by focusing on a specific museum sense of beauty, contemplation and participation and staging viewing, viewers and artworks altogether.
The lecture tackles original museum scenes that inspired Belle comme le Jour (Tristan Bera & Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 2012) that was shot in the museum of Louvre in Paris, and draws up an informal sentimental and critical list of cinematic references which reveal a certain Stendhal syndrome.
Lecture is in English and takes about an hour. Free entrance.