Directed by François Lévy-Kuentz • Documentary • 2021 • 53 minutes
A group of friends meet up in the country to spend the summer together. They go to the beach, play cards, and take day trips in the surrounding region. But these aren’t everyday city folk on vacation. The hosts are Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar. Among the friends are some of the leading painters, photographers and poets of the day.
ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA WITH MAN RAY AND PICASSO tells the story of the group in the summer of 1937. The film is told largely from the point of view of photographer, filmmaker and painter Man Ray, using footage he shot (including some on the then-experimental Kodachrome), a wealth of photos, and excerpts from his autobiography. The other guests at the pension in the village of Mougins are Man Ray’s girlfriend, Ady Fidelin, a dancer and model from Guadeloupe; poet Paul Éluard and his wife Nusch, and writer Roland Penrose, with photographer Lee Miller, who would go on to be the first to document the horrors of the Nazi death camps.
ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA WITH MAN RAY AND PICASSO captures the complex swirl of their relationships, the art they made—during a period in which Ray was transitioning to painting—and the looming end of an era of personal and social experimentation, as war rages in Spain and Second World War looms.