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One of the first to plunge underwater with a camera to bring the subaquatic world to the screen, maverick scientific documentary filmmaker Jean Painleve (1902-1989) captured the throes of a male seahorse giving birth, the geometric choreography of crystal formation, and the mating habits of hermaphrodite mollusks. In a lifetime spanning nearly the history of cinema itself, Painleve made over 200 films, including "The Seahorse, Freshwater Assassins, The Vampire, " and "The Love Life of the Octopus." His lyrical and instructive animal behavior films set to avant-garde scores were much admired by Surrealist contemporaries such as Antonin Artaud, Luis Bunuel, and Jean Vigo. "Science Is Fiction" includes Marina McDougall's historically informative "Hybrid Roots," Brigitte Berg's heavily illustrated biographical essay "Contradictory Forces," art critic Ralph Rugoff's "Fluid Mechanics," a "Liberation" interview with Painleve, stills from Painleve's most celebrated films laid out in storyboard fashion, and a selection of Painleve's writings appearing for the first time in English. The latter include "Neo-Zoological Drama," a playful romp on the behavior of Turbellaria, or flatworms; "Mysteries and Miracles of Nature," an idiosyncratic catalog of unusual animal behavior; and "Scientific Film," a discussion of science films that pays homage to Painleve's fellow pioneers. The book also includes French film critic Andre Bazin's "Science Film: Accidental Beauty," a review of the 1947 International Association of Science Film festival, organized by Painleve. Copublished with Brico Press.
"With photography as sensual as a Mapplethorpe lily, Painleve's films tell a story in pictures as only film can." - Jenifer Berman, Bookforum
Series: Science Is Fiction
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 24th August 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.0 x 25.3 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.49