Archive for March, 2023

Blackpaint 713 – Malle and Music, Women at Tate Britain

March 23, 2023

Louis Malle films (Box set)

Been rewatching these films, and noting Malle’s use of music in them:

Lift to the Scaffold (Maurice Ronet and Jeanne Moreau), with Miles Davis’ unmistakeable trumpet sound, especially when Jeanne Moreau tours the streets of Paris in the rain, looking for her lover.

The Lovers (Moreau again and the cold, forbidding Alain Cuny as her husband) – this time, a big, old house deep in the French countryside with a Brahms sextet to accompany the moonlit lovemaking in the boat and the grounds.

The Fire Within (Maurice Ronet again) – the suicide one, with Eric Satie’s introspective compositions tinkling away behind the central character’s dissolution.

Murmur of the Heart, the incest one and deeply autobiographical, Malle says (except for the actual incest); driven mostly by Charlie Parker’s full tilt pieces – I think one of them is “Confirmation” – but I may be wrong. The Parker music does NOT “drive” any of the pretty decorous sex scenes, of course – that could be fatal for the participants.

Lacombe Lucien (the Vichy collaborator one) – I’ve written about this before. It’s early on, the second scene really, Lucien riding his bike at speed along country roads, reckless, full tilt (love that phrase) and behind it Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France driving through “Minor Swing”! Those runs on the lead guitar, the insistence – pathetic, weak term for it – of the bass and rhythm guitars – best opening sequence, or nearly opening sequence ever. And the rest of the film is as good.

Women at Tate – Just wandering round the galleries at Tate Britain, I found a whole load of women painters, most of whom were unknown to me, so here’s a selection. I’ve chucked in a few men at the end for balance.

Joan Carlile – Portrait of an Unknown Lady 1650 – 5

She’s a bit stiff – but look at the fabric…

Marianne Stokes – A Fisher Girl’s Light (A Pilgrim of Volendam) 1899 – wonder if Singer Sargent saw it?

This is by Annie Swynnerton 1844 – 1933. There’s a whole roomful of Swynnertons. This picture is presumably OK because it’s by a woman, Don’t think it would make the cut in the present day if a man had painted it.

Oh, the rosy cheeks and red lips, Pass the sick bag. Sorry that’s rather uncalled for but it islLike having to look at photos of other people’s grandchildren….

But she CAN paint properly when you get her away from kids.

And I quite like this smug aristo loving himself on the patio (although the hands and feet – and legs as well – caused my friend some displeasure – he has high standards of draughtsmanship…)

Jessica Dismore – Abstract Composition C.1915 – This is more like it for me. Vorticist, presumably.

Nina Hamnett – Gentleman with a Top Hat, George Manuel Unwin, it says – I think he has the air of a minor Royal, caught in a corner in a brothel. 1921

Grace Pailthorpe – April 20 1940 – The Blazing Infant. Surgeon, Surrealist, painter of dreams. Giant pomegranate alarm clock with Humpty Dumpty I would have said – but I’d be wrong…

Ithell Colquhoun – Scylla (1939) – the other well-known artist Colquhoun, and no relation as far as I know. No obvious sexual association here.

Eileen Agar. I think this is called Embryo, I’ve written about Agarbefore, in relation to her exhibition at the Whitechapel a while ago – wasn’t it she who was sent by ship from South America to Britain with a cow supplied by her mother? Or perhaps that was one of my surreal dreams….

And a few chaps at Tate B,,,

William Stott of Oldham – Prince or Shepherd? 1880 – as in who will I marry? presumably

Duncan Grant – Head of Eve 1913

Matthew Smith – didn’t get the details of this, but it really grabs you when you see it through the arch from the next room

Mark Gertler – again no details – but its great, isn’t it?

And this, of course, is one of my smooth and highly finished compositions, entitled “Steve’s Back”.

Next time, more women, this time Abstract Expressionists at the Whitechapel.


March 22nd 2023