directed by Jean Painlevé with Genevieve Hamon, assistant. Cinematography by Claude Beausoleil, Sound direction by Freddy Baume. Les Documents Cinematographiques, Paris.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) lived in Paris between 1926 and 1933. During these years the young artist created and performed one of the most important and beloved works, his miniature circus (1926-1931). On July 12, 1931, Calder wrote to his parents: "Jean Painleve, son of the erstwhile minister, who makes documentary films, came again to see the circus and seems very much interested in filming it - but he has to get someone to back it first for of course one is not apt to make money with a really good film." More than twenty years later Painleve made Le Grande Cirque Calder 1927, begun in 1953 and completed in 1955.
This DVD was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933, jointly organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. This exhibition marks the return of Calder's Circus (1926-31) to Paris, the city of its making, for the first time since the Whitney acquired the work in a grassroots fundraising effort from some five hundred foundations, corporations, and private individuals in 1983. Le Grande Cirque Calder 1927 is in the archives of Les Documents Cinematographiques, Paris, under the directorship of Brigitte Berg.
16mm, color, sound in French. 45 minutes. PAL DVD.