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On January 24, The 7th Art will screen two films that represent the influence of cinema on Cubism – Ballet Mécanique and Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies.

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The next session of The 7th Art film screening series on Sunday, January 24 presents a film produced and narrated by Martin Scorsese. Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies is about how early movies, which at the time were regarded only as trashy popular entertainment, inspired titans like Picasso and Braque and sparked the revolution in fine arts known as Cubism. The programme also features a famous short by one of the most important Cubist painters, Fernand Léger, called Ballet Mécanique.

Launched in the beginning of October, in partnership with TCA Abu Dhabi and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, The 7th Art is curated and hosted by veteran film historian Peter Scarlet. This week, Peter invites film enthusiasts to the Manarat Al Saadiyat auditorium at 7.30pm, to explore the influence of cinema on Cubism. He will introduce the films and the art movement to the audience prior to the screening.

The evening’s feature offering Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies, was produced and narrated by Martin Scorsese, and directed by gallerist-filmmaker Arne Glimcher in 2008. It examines how early 20th century inventions, such as aviation, but most particularly the movies, had a tremendous influence on the leading Cubist artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It features interviews with major contemporary artists, such as Chuck Close, Julian Schnabel and Eric Fischl, and critics including Adam Gopnik and Tom Gunning.

Ballet Mécanique was directed by the famed French Cubist painter Fernand Léger in collaboration with an American experimental filmmaker Dudley Murphy. The 1924 short is often described as a kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack.

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The plotless experimental work features a barrage of rhythmic images set in a world in motion, with a few moments of solitude. The musical score by the celebrated American composer George Antheil makes Ballet Mécanique a particularly memorable experience.                   

“This programme provides a fitting conclusion to our successful inaugural season,” Peter Scarlet notes. “Over the past few months, we’ve explored how major artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th Century, namely Expressionism, Impressionism and Surrealism, had influenced filmmakers. Tonight’s screening shows how even the earliest movies had a tremendous effect on changing how artists saw the world. The revolution marked by Cubism wouldn’t have been possible without cinema.”

Attendees have the opportunity of participating in a post-screening discussion with Peter Scarlet in the auditorium at Manarat Al Saadiyat or at FANR Restaurant, next to the auditorium. FANR is a great venue to grab dinner with fellow cinema fanatics before or after the screening. Manarat Al Saadiyat offers ample parking space for free to its visitors.


The film series kicks off its second season of screenings and discussions at Manarat al Saadiyat on Sunday February 7, and will run every other Sunday until May 15. “The 7th Art Al Fresco”, a brand-new series of outdoor screenings will begin on Saturday, February 20, and continue every third Saturday until April 23 at a different location throughout Abu Dhabi.

“In our next series of screenings, starting February 7, we’ll begin to present some of the masterpieces of cinema’s first century. And we’ll continue our screenings of Mark Cousins’ remarkable The Story of Film: An Odyssey with its final seven episodes tracing the evolution of the medium up to the present,” Scarlet adds.

Every film that is screened by The 7thArt programme is introduced by Peter Scarlet, and will have subtitles in Arabic and/or English. A Q&A session will be hosted by the film historian after the screening. Admission is free to all events organized by The 7thArt.

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