Film: 8858

Art + Architecture | 1970 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Indian Art 1970's

Indian Art is a French film that focuses on a private collection of religious objects compiled by a 19th century French scientist and collector, Emile Guimet. His collection from Afganistan, India and Japan gives some insight into the history of religion. Following this is Jean Bonneau's 'Tourneur sur bois,' which focuses on the art of wood turning, using traditional craft techniques.

The film begins with dramatic music, cymbals clanging and drums. A series of minature rectangular shapes appear in succession to fill up the screen, they seem to move to the beats of the drum, each rectangle has a photograph of a building or architectural structure, a painting of a gentleman, possibly in 18th Century dress wearing a white wig, images of locations from around the world, these images flash on and off the screen creating much movement and colour. Pink, blue, yellow, red and purple coloured blocks of colour flash on and off the screen.

'Chroniques de France' appears in the centre of the screen, surrounded by a grid of colours and images, 'Chroniques de France' appears in bold white type, black background, dramatic music continues to play. 'Chroniques de France' lettering turns red, then the words disappear and the grid of images and colour fill the entire screen, constant change of colours, rapid movement. Foreign, probably ancient Indian language flashes from bold white type to green type, then disappears, images and blocks of colour flash onto the screen, more movement, the screen turns entirely red for a split second, grid-like pattern of images return.

'Cronicas de Francia' appears in bold white type in the centre of screen, 'Cronicas' then flashes in yellow while 'de Francia' turns red, grid-like pattern of images and colour are much the same as before.The screen then flashes on and off, revealing black of screen for a second, chaotic. 'Cronicas da Franca' appears in central space in green and white, grid of images and colour fill the screen. 'New Reports from France' appears in bold white type, blue, red, yellow blocks of colour move around the type until type disappears. 'Chroniques de France' reappears in white bold type, grid of images and type fade, backdrop turns black.

Blue background, white sans-serif type written across screen introducing 'Les Arts Asiatiques au Musee Guimet,' name Pierre Vatteone appears in bottom right of screen, surname in capital letters, music continues to play. Blue screen fades. Stone statue, possibly a buddha's head and top of shoulders appear, nearly in profile, distinctive carved facial features, face almost looking down at viewer, imposing, lighting creates dramatic atmosphere, three quarters of the statue is bathed in bright light, one quarter of it is in near darkness. Camera pans around the statue until it stops directly in front of it, we look at buddha face to face. Music slows, noisy clanging of cymbals changes to separate loud chims, camera moves backwards and more of the buddha's features are revealed, difficult to see what is behind statue, backdrop is very dark, humorous facial expression, buddha is almost smiling, stylised stone carving of features particularly its hair, dramatic arching eyebrows, long earlobes, camera holds position for a few seconds in front of buddha.

White stone carving of buddha's head, dramatic close-up, camera pans out to reveal distinctive nose, sleepy eyes, pert lips, long ear lobes with large block shaped accessories attached, possibly earrings, finely carved hair and arched eyebrows. Abrupt change to close-up of another stone statue's head, camera positioned looking up at the sculpture, camera postioned looking up at buddha's imposing head, big smiling mouth, full lips, eyes closed, long earlobes, flaring nostrils, framed by stone carved back board, camera pans out briefly. Close-up of another head, less ornate, looks feminine, almond shaped eyes, distinctive chin, small nose, head in semi-profile, head fills three quarters of the screen, left side of face is in darkness, green background, camera pans out to reveal large headress, bee-hive in shape, large shoulders and chest, hand missing, could be female. Close-up of Indian stone face, more ornate, stylized carving, some weathering on its cheeks and torso. Chinese bust possibly, painted in bright colours, red and black predominant, tanned skin tone, glaring eyes, red lips outlined in black, clothed and ornately carved. Close-up profile of another painted figure, frighening face,swirling painted patterns and carving on headress, ornate and richly decorated, beaded beard clearly evident, large black moustache, exaggerated eyebrows and huge bulging eyes, flaring nostrils, teeth baring, almost dragon-like, large ear, heavy earring.

Stone sculpture, possibly Indian, devoid of colour, dressed in ancient costume, parts of chest are visible, carving is intricate, face is realistic, almost delicate features, arm extends outwards, other arm holds part of robe, disk-like stone sculpture frames the man's head , camera pans out to reveal more of the figure. Close-up head shot of another stone figure/buddha, large lips, eyes looking down, no colour, long earlobe on right ear is missing, camera pans out to show blue background, arms and hands are placed in its lap, legs folded, adopts mediataive position, smooth carving on face and torso, only decoration is on its head.

19th century building, grey, ivy growing on the outside, grey sky. Close-up of building, Emile Guimet Museum, camera moves toward the door, music fades and the voiceover begins. Discussion of 1985 exhibition of Emile Guimet's private collection of religious objects from around the world, shown in Paris. Camera focuses on entrance to museum, two posters advertising the exhibition either side of entrance, red background, mask-like face in the centre, type states: 'Musee Guimet, Arts Asiatiques.'

19th Century still photograph of Emile Guimet, possibly in his 70s, bow tie, white beard and hair. Still photograph of Emile Guimet sitting at a desk in profile, possibly ancient sculpture lying on the desk, lots of papers in front of him, serious expression on his face, voiceover discusses various exhibitions that took place in the Musee du Louvre and the National Museum in Paris as a result of Guimet's collections. Front cover of an article, type states: 'Annales de Musee Guimet.' Printed page close-up, black type on white background, introduces Guimet's 'Scientific mission in the extreme orient,' part of letter from Guimet to the French Minister is visible where Guimet discusses his expedition in Japan, India and China, expedition completed in 1876. Close-up of letter. Page from a book, introduces Guimet's adventures in Japan, 'Tokio-Nikko', ink drawing depicts Japanese landscape, mountain and trees in foreground, printed text across drawing. Close-up of text.

Small library, dark wooden shelves containing books on religious objects, curved book shelf, lamps on desks. Camera pans around the library from left to right, large seated buddha, possibly bronze, adopts meditative position. Close-up of buddha, camera pans out, voiceover discusses contents of the library, library contains one thousand special volumes on ancient religious artifacts.

Close-up of display of broken parts of statues, two headed sculpture, possibly a third on other side. Free-standing figure in the distance probably female. Richly carved object, appears to be half human half bird, frightening and mask-like, some weathering on the stone. Close-up of standing figure in distance, voiceover discusses the collection and the many beliefs that are reflected through ancient artifacts like these, eerie music, possibly arabic.

Camera focuses on female bust, blue lighting, happy expression. Close-up of free-standing statue, half horse, half human, possibly marble, brown in colour, ornate headress but simply carved facial features. Close-up of three headed object, was possibly top part of a pillar, two other heads are displayed either side in the distance, pale blue backdrop. Deeply carved stone relief of figure standing in a niche, ornamentation, artifical lighting flashes on the sculpture. Close-up of a small section of stone carving, possibly of two gods dancing in air at the top of niche, camera pans out to reveal a cluster of figures, female stands between two men who hold on to her arms, seems to be telling some kind of religious story, large leaf-like shapes possibly trees positioned behind the figures. Profile of two heads, white stone, distinctive hair, large ear lobes, full lips and open eyes. Camera moves past dragon-like sculpture and focuses on a standing figure holding a bowl, large horizonal crack on torso, camera focuses in on face, looks amused. Another head-shot of a buddha.

Wooden carving, possibly golf leaf on red, gold leaf painted onto raised carved vines, foliage and figures, figures separated by a thick vertical band, they hold onto vines surrounding them. Bronze free-standing dancing figure, semi-naked, Indian woman, leg bent inwards, arms poised in traditional dancing position, bracelets and anklets. Camera pans up another free-standing figure, possibly gold, extremely ornate, dancing under a tree, red, orange and pale blue/green stones, possibly precious, can be seen on the leaves of the tree.

Music stops, empty gallery space, dimly lit, bare white walls, window in the background. Camera moves into another gallery space, larger room, display cabinets run down the centre of the room, bucket with paper and rubbish on floor, windows run along left side of the room. Camera moves into gallery space, voiceover discusses the curation of a new exhibition of treasures from Afganistan, India and Japan that will probably be shown in this space. Camera focuses in on a series of religious objects from Afganistan, India and Japan; bust, its head, legs and arms are missing, carved robe covers right leg, left leg is bare, bust stands on tall white base, camera pans out to reveal more of the gallery space. Close-up of statue previously seen, stands on wooden base in gallery niche.

Close-up of a French map, Afganistan surrounded by neighbouring countries, Iran and Pakistan, black sans-serif type on white background. Close-up of a female head, looks down towards the right of the screen, bare neck, hair flowing slightly over shoulder, brightly lit from right side, camera moves up to show mass of deeply carved curls on head. Close-up of head, stylized eyebrows, right ear lobe missing, sleepy eyes, short hair, camera pans out.

Map of India, focus on island off India, Ceylan, place names written in black type on white background, Southern India has place names of Tancavur and Sittannavasal, camera pans up map showing northern parts of India. Ancient Indian relief depicts a figure playing a flute, possibly bronze, dark, looks dusty, heavy decoration, camera focuses on legs of the figure, one leg crossed over the other, bare feet, sheep surrounding figure, lots of action. Camera focuses in on series of Indian stone reliefs.

Close-up of a minature bronze statue, free-standing, seems to be dancing, tall bee-hive shaped headress, four arms, camera pans out, two other sculptures, male and female perch on what looks like a tomb. Seated buddha type figure, arm and hand raised, ornately carved backdrop. Man walks in front of three religious objects, he is carrying a timer, camera on a tripod, man takes a photograph of the display, lighting equipment to the left of the man.

Possibly Chinese music, camera focuses on a porcelain bowl, pink lotus flower, black and pale yellow leaves, busy composition, lots of colour, probably hand painted, camera pans out to show more of the bowl, very intricate detail. Map of Japan, lots of place names written in bold black lettering. Small bowl and matching plate, very delicate detail, camera moves back, more plates and bowls displayed on shelf, green, yellow and red colours. Japanese mask, realistic face, frightening, deep set eye sockets, red lips, teeth baring, black hair, pale skin. Possibly a Japanese Buddha sitting in meditative position, weathered, probably was painted but no colour remains, eyes closed, arm and hand raised, fingers adopt some kind of symbloic gesture. Chinese/Japanese painted silk screen depicting women going about their daily activities, dressed in traditional clothing, lots of colour, women have black hair and pale skin, some figures gathered around a cooking pot, another lady is serenaded by two women, possibly servants. Series of close-ups of the women's faces.

Indian looking woman sits in centre of ornately carved design, she has many arms. Voiceover introduces China and the camera focuses on a miniature Chinese building, possibly some kind of temple or important building, intricately carved, three figures stand on a balcony, one looks like royalty or someone presigious, she hold up her hand. Close up of a 'Musee Guimet Annexe.' voiceover discusses a collection of Japanese ritual objects. Camera focuses on possibly a Japanese religious sculpture, its head. Series of painted depictions of Japanese society. Statue of eight armed female figure, adorned with gold attributes. Still photogarph of Indian woman dancing, traditional dress. Still photograph of same woman dancing. Series of still photogarphs of an Indian man playing a tradtional Indian musical instruments. Close-up of an older Indian man playing musical instrument. Still photograph of woman, possibly Chinese playing a musical instrument. Still photograph of Chinese man playing an instrument. Close-up of statues head, previously seen.

'Tourneur Sur Bois' appears in white type on a blue background, Jean-Pierre Bonneau appears in the bottom right side, music plays. View of an old street, grey stone, catherdral in background, possibly 11th or 12th Century town. Camera turns out of the street and focuses on window through which a white haired man in glasses and blue overalls smokes a pipe, he is standing in a workshop. Close-up of the man. Camera is inside the workshop, man carves wood as it spins in a machine. He places a block of wood in a vice, turns a handle and the wood spins, holds a chisel against wood to shape it. Series of close-ups of the man's hands, very controlled working on the wood. Chisel and spinning wood, wood shavings. Man's facial expression is serious, concentrating. After man has finished shaping the wood block he puts it on a pile of other carved pieces which look like spindles. Camera continues to film man working. Aerial view of interior of the workshop, tools and machinery. Man measures wood in vice. Camera moves from left to right filming a display of spindles lined up. Old man stands next to a shelf of different types of wood, possibly that he works in, he talks about them. Camera focuses in and out on the small block of wood in his hands. Man looks briefly at the camera, then at the wood in his hands and back to the shelf behind. He picks up other blocks of wood.

Series of close-ups of workman discusses types of wood, focuing in on his hands and the grains of the wood.There is some writing in French on different blocks of wood, hand written in black. Camera films man lighting his pipe in profile. Close-up of wooden spindles. Workman holds cylindrical shaped wood in hands. Wooden salad servers, a large rustic spoon and a fork. Man picks up square dish and attaches it to a machine, it spins and he drills into its centre. Camera pans out to show the wood spinning fast, man moves tool towards it, lots of noise, man works with his pipe in his mouth. Close-up of his face. Dish or plate takes shape, wood shavings can be seen. Hand holding a chisel, cuts into wood, looks increasingly like a rustic kitchen plate. Image of spinning wood fades as camera pans back through workshop door still filming the man. Camera moves outside, it's dusk, ivy on the workshop wall, the workshop looks very old, atmospheric, green grass and stone pathway, the man continues to work, his back towards the camera. The image of the workshop and craftsman looks like one plucked out of ancient times, possibly the 11th/ 12th Century.


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