Directed by Amelie Harrault & Valerie Loiseleux • 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 4: The Enchanters of Montparnasse
The war has ended, and the streets erupt in celebration. Montparnasse swings to the rhythms of jazz and hops to the buzz of lively cafés. Paris is a movable feast. Conceived as reactions against the absurdity of war, the Dadaist and Surrealist revolutions are underway.
Leading the charge are “the three musketeers”: Breton, Aragon, and Soupault, backed by Man Ray, Desnos, Tzara, and many others. In 1919, one of the major works of the Surrealist movement is unveiled : Les Champs magnétiques.
The model Kiki, revered by every painter of the day and poised to be crowned queen of Montparnasse, has a tumultuous love affair with Man Ray before he takes off with Lee Miller.