Directed by Amelie Harrault & Pauline Gaillard • Documentary • 2020 • 300 minutes
Adapted from Dan Franck’s literary trilogy Bohemian Paris, Libertad! and Midnight, the story plunges us into Parisian life at the beginning of the twentieth century, a hotbed of artistic creation with the blossoming of Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Through illustrations, animation and original documents, the 6-part series, which is constructed as a fiction, traces the highs and lows, scandals and celebrations, tragedies and triumphs that shaped the phenomenal period of Modern Art from the basement of the “Bateau-lavoir“ in 1900 to the last shudders of World War II. The infamous protagonists include Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire, Gertrude Stein, Kiki, André Gide, André Malraux and Robert Capa. All of them artists and intellectuals who came to France from across Europe and left an indelible mark on the 20th century. These glorious subversives were adventurers before becoming heroes.
Episode 2: Picasso and His Gang
Picasso responds to Matisse with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The canvas causes a scandal and ushers in the aesthetic of cubism.
Not long thereafter, however, a series of rifts occur. Picasso, now wealthy from record sales figures, leaves the Bateau-Lavoir. Apollinaire moves into the heart of the Saint-Germain neighborhood. The poet Max Jacob, the poorest of them all, is one of the only bohemians to continue living in the hardscrabble misery of Montmartre.
When the First World War breaks out, yesterday’s friends part ways forever. Braque, Derain, and Vlaminck go to the front. Picasso stays in Paris. Apollinaire is wounded on the front lines in 1916.