Postwar Surrealist Film: The Wandering Eye
Joseph Cornell’s Gnir Rednow, composed from the outtakes of Stan Brakhage’s The Wonder Ring, enacts surrealist appropriation in a context characterized by assisted movement through space, with footage taken from a Manhattan elevated train. Likewise, the Paris Metro runs through Georges Franju’s The First Night, and the protagonist of Ado Kyrou’s The Hair absurdly promenades a beloved object through the streets. Historical Surrealism valued passive, distracted wandering for its production of illuminating chance encounters. These short films carry forward this pre-World War II legacy, associating a retrospective notion of wandering with the movement of the camera through narratives structured around domestic and urban settings.
Gnir Rednow (Joseph Cornell, 1955, 16mm, 5 min)
The First Night (La Première Nuit) (Georges Franju, 1958, 16mm, 23 min)
The Hair (La Chevelure) (Ado Kyrou, 1961, DVD, 19 min)
Interiors and Exteriors: Avant-Garde Itineraries in Postwar France film series
In conjunction with an exhibition at the Smart Museum, this year-long film series traces the relationship between the emerging generation of avant-garde movements in 1950s France and the Surrealist movement, re-established in Paris after the war. These contesting visions of the relationship between interior and exterior life in art and film represent a tense exploration of the personal and political in reconstruction-era France.
Co-presented with France Chicago Center, UChicago Arts Council, and the Uncommon Fund. Curated by Art History PhD candidates Jennifer Cohen and Marin Sarvé-Tarr, in consultation with Anne Leonard, Smart Museum Curator and Associate Director of Academic Initiatives and Julia Gibbs, Assistant Director of the Film Studies Center.