"I didn't think the apocalypse would be this stupid." — Mat Johnson
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Milq Film & TV Archive
left bank vs nouvelle vague?
Les Statues Meurent Aussi, 1953
Alain Resnais, Ghislain Cloquet & Chris Marker - Les Statues Meurent Aussi [1953, Left Bank short film]. I reflected on late scholar and art critic Thomas McEvilley's infamous groundbreaking article for Artforum, "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" while watching this short film by Alain Resnais and Chris Marker. I think of Resnais, who made a short film about the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Guernica, which obviously has a Picasso angle, as one of the more artsy documentarians among the Left Bank directors. Marker made works which are both artsy and dramatic, as in La Jetée. Cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet captures the quiet power of the statues well in Les Statues Meurent Aussi (English transl: Statues Also Die). This is a progressive short film that questions cultural imperialism and colonialism -- particularly as it relates to Sub-Saharan Africa (some of the documentary was shot at Musée du Congo Belge). When I think about what this short film accomplishes, I also think of how McEvilley was doing the same thing Resnais and Marker did years before him. They were essentially questioning the art world establishment -- and perhaps the world at large -- along with offering a critique of cultural fetishization, the tendency to relegate legitimate, valid art to a category of being 'exotic' and the tendency to treat such art as if it is inferior to typically Western art.