Film: 3274

Art + Architecture | 1960 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

The artist Anthony Gross talks about his paintings in Paris 1934 "La Joie de Vive" - animated film of etchings and drawings. Wax plates produced. Detailed copper plate printing. Rural France where he lived. He goes with canvas into country - farm and village life. Painting in his studio. He paints field workers at work.

Opening shots of the artist Anthony Gross in his studio. He is about 50/55 years old, has a bald head but with some dark hair still growing at the back and sides, he is wearing glasses and a suit. The film begins with a full screen shot of one of Gross' landscape paintings, pans left showing a ladder and painting leaning against a wall and a table with several bottles and jars containing liquids. The camera continues panning left to reveal the artist as he bends over some work, close-up and full shot of Gross as he continues work, pans around the rest of the studio. Over the images the narrative from Gross begins to tell the viewer of his early adult life and his art. Various still and panned shots of five early Gross paintings, two of Paris street-life and two of French provincial life; includes narrative on the influence of Van Gogh on these early paintings.

Narrative reference to a commission Gross received from Hector Hoppin to do the drawing for a cartoon film called: La Joie de Vivre, made in 1934. Several shots of the film follow, the film consists of animated line drawing. Throughout this piece of film two women, one blonde, one dark, both wearing short, flowing, white dresses, dance, run, jump and fly/float through various industrial/city type landscapes. Cut to a full shot then panned close-up of two of Gross' etchings. The first shows large groups of people in a park, flying kites, there are twisted strings and kites against the white sky. The second shows windswept people on a pier, some standing, some with blankets sitting on deckchairs and some fishing; leaning over the pier railings, rods and lines twisting in the air against the background of the sea and sky. Cut to image from another etching which shows the detailed study of leaves and grasses. Panned close-up shot of an etched print of a tree, its leaves and branches in a freer style with less precise drawing. Return to film of Gross in his studio. Still shot of a metal etching plate as he prepares it for use. He dabs on a dark coloured wax and spreads it over the plate by using a roller. Film cuts to shot of Gross holding the etching plate above his head in one hand, while holding a flamed/smoking torch-like instrument in the other, this he passes over the waxed side of plate, sealing in the wax. Cut to a shot of a sketch which Gross is working from, camera pans down to his etching desk as he begins to scratch into the black surface of the etching plate. Close-up shot of his finger on an etching tool creating a line on the plate. Close-up shot of his face, then his hand with a cigarette. Second shot with etching tool, this time creating thinner, more detailed lines. There follows several different shots of Gross continuing the etching process; including a shot from behind showing Gross hunched over his workbench sitting on his stool, two close-up shots of his face as he takes a drag on his cigarette, and the smoke which follows. Several close-up shots of different etching tools are shown in use, creating different textures, both traditional and invented, including a doorknob.

Cut to two still shots of the etching plate, the first near the beginning of the process with only an outline visible, the second when the plate is finished. Close-up panned shot of the more textured, finished plate. Included in this shot is a magnifying glass, held over a detailed area, magnifying a more textured area of plate. Cut to a shot of three glass bottles each containing etching fluids. Camera moves to a white tray/dish containing acid which Gross puts the scratched plate into. Close-up of the semi-etched plate in the acid as Gross gently passes a soft brush through the acid and over the plate. Close-up shot, again using the magnifying glass, showing the etched areas of the plate. Shot from above showing Gross sitting at his table with the etched plate, various jars and the original sketch the etching was taken from around him on the table. Filming continues as he adds ink to the plates' surface with a brush. Cut to four different shots of Gross inking up and preparing the etching plate for printing. Long shot of a large wheeled printing press, with Gross placing plate on it. A close-up shot of two large cogs on the press. Cut to a shot of Gross turning the large wheel, cuts to shot of previous cogs moving. Shot of Gross peeling paper back from printing plate followed by a full shot of the finished print. Over these images is Gross' narrative, which explained each stage of the printing process as he went along. Various close-up and panned shots of three/four etchings made after observing French village life. Cut to film footage of a French village; a street scene with two women walking arm in arm away from the camera, an old man walking towards the camera with two cows in a yoke trailing behind him. Cut to a long-shot of Gross' French village house, the shot includes him walking across the yard carrying an easel in one hand and a canvas over his shoulder.

Close-up of Gross as he continues walking into the village. Five different shots of village life are shown as he walks, including; two cows being walked past houses while a woman sweeps her doorstep, a group of five young children walking past looking at the camera; three older men are looking on including one standing by milk churns, and a man and his daughter walk away from the camera and past the artist. Move on to three shots of French rural landscape, including one of the village church. Film cuts to one long shot of a charcoal landscape sketch. Cut to film of a close-up shot of gauze/grasses and to a similar charcoal drawing. Moves on to a painting of a field of maize, followed by close-up panned film shot of maize, return to the painting, then back to filmed images. Cut to film, shot from over-head of a room in Gross' house, stone walls, stone fire-place in one wall, drawings strewn over tables and floor. Cut to a close-up of Gross, shirt sleeves rolled up, hammering nails into a canvas frame. Close-up panned shots of paintings and drawings of the French landscape. Panned film of a ruined French house, no doors, windows or roof, and the sky is visible through some areas. The panning stops when the camera finds Gross sketching amid the ruins. Cut to a close-up shot of his face, then his drawing in sketchpad as he continues drawing, shot pans up to the rural landscape scene in front. Cut to a shot of Gross, wearing a white sun-hat, as he stands in the countryside in front of his easel with paintbrush in hand as he begins to paint onto a white canvas. Camera pans left slightly to reveal people working in the fields as he continues to paint, the countryside landscape in the background. Cut to three shots of countryside workers, grape picking(?), one man wearing a beret. Cut to a close-up of Gross as he continues to work on his now more developed painting. Cut to a shot of two Frenchmen, one with a cigarette, both wearing berets as they hoist a box of grapes onto one of the men's shoulders. Several more shots of Gross, his painting and the French landscape scenery. Several still close-up shots of the finished painting. Cut to a shot of Gross walking back down the country road. Seven/eight young children walk in the opposite direction towards him, a road sign with the distanced to the nearest villages is visible in front of the hedgerow. The camera stays on and follows the children as they walk further down the road and into the distance.


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