Directed by Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens • Documentary • 1949 • 14 minutes
In 1937, Spanish nationalists called on Nazi and Italian Fascist forces to bomb the Basque town of Guernica. The horrors of the bombing led Pablo Picasso to create perhaps his greatest work, “Guernica”: a massive painting powerfully representing the horrors of war.
Recently restored and digitized, GUERNICA is a short film featuring paintings, drawings and sculptures made by Picasso between 1902 and 1949. Accompanying the artworks is a dramatic piece by surrealist poet Paul Eluard, read by actor Maria Casares. In the first few minutes of the film, Picasso’s deeply human drawings evoke daily life. Then comes the bombing, with lives shattered and destroyed. Here, the focus is on “Guernica” itself, as the film spotlights details of the painting over a frenzied and disturbing score.
GUERNICA is one of a series of impressive short films on art made by the great French New Wave director Alain Resnais, early in his career.