24 November 2023

Image taken from “La Visite”, by Angelin Preljocaj, in homage to Pablo Picasso.


Celebrate the fifty years of the death of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) by dancing, who says better… The artist in love with movements, breaker of lines and rhythms, regularly painted the world of circus and dance but also signed a number of sets, costumes and stage curtains. Accomplice in the creation of the Ballets Russes company (from 1916 to 1921), where he met the dancer Olga Khokhlova whom he would marry in 1918, he tattooed the cubist and discordant in his inimitable style. Parade (1917), the most realistic tricorn (1919) or even Pulcinella (1920) where he revisits Neapolitan traditions.

Initiated by Arte, this collection of eight short films imagined by eight choreographers can be savored like a farandole of singular flavors, none of which knocks out the other. The principle of the game is simple while allowing you to wander happily. Each has chosen a work to support their imagination and their vision of Picasso. Freedom of interpretation is at the rendezvous in these vignettes, sometimes very danced, sometimes theatrical, and illuminates this mosaic portrait of the painter where his passion for women, his twist of reality, his chromatic subtlety intertwine.

question of the feminine

The question of the feminine electrifies four films. Inspired by Dora Maar with green nails (1936), the Polish Anna Hop delivers a suggestive fiction entitled The Fall of Dora Maar. Evoking the violent relationship between Maar and Picasso, she plays a heroine under the influence manipulated by three men who slowly trap her in a suffocating trap. Darker, Olivier Dubois’ proposal for This obscure love of desire refers to Dora and the Minotaur (1936). Against the backdrop of the impressive walls of skeletons and skulls of the catacombs of Paris, he leads us running through a labyrinth flashed with spectral apparitions.

The biting and sensual embrace of Dubois becomes acrobatic intertwining with Carla Cervantes and Sandra Egido for Together our bodies were never just bodiesunder the influence of the web Three Women (1908). Between sea exterior and apartment interior, the duo unrolls a fluid score that reconfigures the anatomy to the point of confusion. As for Leïla Ka in alivetrio designed as a mirror of paint The two sisters Or The Interview (1902), she digs into her obsession with layers of clothing and, in particular, little flowery dresses through undressing under high tension.

The charm of this series also lies in the walk to which it invites. From the angular architecture of the Maxxi, Rome’s contemporary art museum, to Parade, by Diego Tortelli, at the workshop-studio of the actor and illustrator Mr. Kriss in The Acrobat and the Guitarist, each film is embedded in a cocoon of beauty. A dark forest welcomes this Tom Thumb of Picasso struggling with his muses in Visitby Angelin Preljocaj while the Senegalese bush envelops Nora Chipaumire for Not Waiting. With Germaine Acogny, they stand in front of a baobab and recall in hieratic poses Picasso’s fascination for the African masks found in The Ladies of Avignon (1907). The flexible and precise camera of Thibaut Charlut, which plays close-ups on the bodies with accuracy, halos this Picasso Dance of elegance.

Picasso Dance, collection of short films directed by Thibaut Charlut – and Valérie Müller for the choreography of Angelin Preljocaj – (Fr., 2022, 8 × 10 min). Available on demand on Arte.tv until September 19, 2025.

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