CreditsDirector/Writer Folco Quilici
Catalog number # 456
60 minutes Color
Age Range: 15 to Adult
Closed Captions and Interactive Transcript
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VOICE1: Woman, flower, butterfly
VOICE2: Butterfly, flower, woman
VOICE3: (Alone) Flower, Butterfly, Woman
VOICE4: She danced with her butterfly wings, Loie Fuller.
VOICE3: And her long veil drew patterns in the air, elliptical, sinuous spirals.
VOICE3: Fluctuating sculptures.
VOICE2: "flower on a stormy sea" "the forming of a cloud"
VOICE3: A female figure, a symbol, an epoch.
VOICE2: The first approach of Art Nouveau
VOICE4: The 19th century is receding. Marked by optimism it wants to give its swan's cry and offer its hand to the new century in the whirl of a dance. VOICE1: "On the velvety turns of your curly locks, I burn and am inebriated"
VOICE4: Baudelaire has gone; he has dug an abyss, created eddys and whirls. VOICE3: Mallarme, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec. Poets, artists, sculptors sang and portrayed Loie Fuller VOICE2: She was the main attraction of the Paris Expo in 1890. VOICE1: This is how Toulouse-Lautrec saw her.
VOICE2: The numerous Universal Exhibitions in this period.
The bourgeoisie makes a show of itself and of its achievements.
VOICE3: Unlimited progress, peace, affluence, secureness, confidence.
VOICE4: The future will be a continuous forward line, slanting upwards.
VOICE3: To build, to accumulate.
VOICE4: Concrete, iron, steel. VOICE3: Substance, stability.
VOICE1: "I have intended to erect an Arc de Triomphe to the glory of science and to the highest honor of French industry" proclaims Alexandre Gustave Eiffel upon the completion of his well-known tower.
VOICE3: three hundred meters high, 7,500 tons of iron. VOICE4: It's 1889. The year of the Universal Exhibition for the centenary of the French Revolution.
VOICE3: On January 4, 1880, the "Figaro" had sent this cable:
VOICE1: 'Please confirm news as published in "The Times" re an electric lamp having been invented to replace gas lighting"
VOICE1: "News in The Times entirely correct. Signed Thomas Edison."
VOICE2: Barcelona, London, New York, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, all lit-up by the new invention. VOICE3: Domestic and public electric lighting.
VOICE4: Day mingles with night. Life can be expanded at pleasure. VOICE3: More time for everyone. For enjoyment, work, production.
VOICE4: At an ever-increasing pace.
VOICE1: Tramways replace horse-drawn omnibuses, lifts replace staircases.
VOICE3: A subterranean life is born, no less intense than that on the surface.
VOICE4: Disappearing in the tunnels of underground trains and reappearing who knows where like thriving ants.
VOICE3: More inventions, more production, more population.
VOICE4: Cities are hungry for more and more power.
VOICE3: New cathedrals are erected to the new gods of consumerism and energy: electric power stations.
VOICE1: This power station at Beringhausen is the largest in Europe at the turn of the century.
VOICE2: It is intact after two world wars.
VOICE3: In the heart of the building there is something like a marble altar.
VOICE2: The accuracy of detail and the grandeur of the whole recall the techniques and methods of the builders of the cathedrals of old.
VOICE1: The noisy generators are now silent and the power station is a museum.
VOICE4: On the walls are photographs of the protagonists of this adventure.
VOICE1: The workers, the managers. VOICE3: Bourgeoisie - working class.
VOICE2: An acute, prolonged, petulant sound at dawn awakes the industrial suburbs of towns, made of manufacturing businesses and plants.
VOICE4: Someone with a classical mind has resorted to Homer to find it a name: siren.
VOICE1: Robert Schenerb writes that in 1776 ten people would make 48 thousand pins a day. One hundred years later a machine produces 180 pins a minute, 2 million every 10 workers. VOICE3: Thanks to Bessmer's converter, cast iron becomes steel. Machines are replacing manpower more and more.
VOICE4: Serial production in industry plunges costs. The product is not always as accurate, but more people can afford to buy it.
VOICE1: "The Fourth State", the famous painting by Pelizza da Volpedo VOICE2: and Giovanni Boldini, with his "Bourgeois on the Bois de Boulogne". VOICE1: In this age of great changes the bourgeoisie rapidly accumulates large fortunes.
VOICE2: The party, perhaps, will never end. VOICE2: Agio is payable on gold against the franc, the lira, the mark.
VOICE3: Markets expand.
VOICE3: In the heart of cities another kind of new cathedral to the gods of consumer goods and affluence: department stores.
VOICE1: Cities Metropolises Masses
VOICE1: To be attracted. Seduced.
VOICE2: Amongst the more famous stores of the time, Harrods in London, La Fayette and La Samaritaine in Paris. VOICE1: Paris, in this fin de siecle is more than ever the capital of finance, industry, art, fashion.
VOICE2: "La ville tentaculaire" says Emile Verhaeren. VOICE3: Refined patterns of lines, an accurate and gratifying formalism....
VOICE4: As a distant echo of the early times of Department Stores, this still miraculously intact, at Mexico City.
VOICE2: Deserted nowadays. Turned into a museum.
VOICE3: Domes, aisles, stained glass
VOICE4: Even purchasing acquires the formality of a ritual.
VOICE1: A ritual common to all the world of mass-production and consumption.
VOICE2: Suggestive, symbolic images. Exasperated. VOICE1: Ladies and gentlemen, the hidden persuader is born. Our new guardian angel.
VOICE2: In Germany, in Belgium, in Italy, in France, all levels of artists are at work on Affiches. Graphic arts are born.
VOICE4: The guardian angel of your choices.
VOICE4: The walls of cities, gray with the smoke of factories, become animated and bright with color.
VOICE2: They assure that your troubles will be mitigated, your burden lightened, and that happiness is close at hand.
VOICE1: Jules Cheret alone in a few years turns out over five thousand artistic advertising posters.
VOICE4: Toulouse-Lautrec barely over thirty.
VOICE2: He decorates famous cafes and cheap dancing halls.
VOICE4: A rarity: two affiches, sole samples with no copies, only recently discovered and kept at the Modern Art Museum in Paris, they show his friend Goulu, a dancer at the Moulin Rouge VOICE1: Pure colors, essential lines.
VOICE2: Irony, and anxiety
VOICE4: His favorite subjects: classical theatre actresses and cafe chantant dancers (like the Moulin Rouge) VOICE: Where he is at home, he, the Count Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose ancestry goes back uninterruptedly to Charlemagne.
VOICE: Photography had captured the fleeting moment. Another unbelievable miracle amazes the end of the century: the cinema.
VOICE : On December 28, 1895, the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumiere project "L'arrivee du train a la Gare de la Ciotat". VOICE: 35 spectators. Entrance fee; one franc.
VOICE: The documentary is born: history portrayed and preserved as it takes place.
VOICE: George Melies, instead, prefers "dreams on film", cinema at the service of imagination,
VOICE: He invents special effects, superimpressions, fading-outs, camera movements.
VOICE: But the cinema, whilst amusing, produces critical documents as well: electric power, in this "comic" by Andre Deed is seen as a dangerous piece of witchcraft.
VOICE: Science revolting against man, escaping out of his hands.
VOICE: Other historical documents owed to the camera: workers coming out of a textile factory in France. VOICE: Women set off on their unarrestable march.
VOICE: Suffragettes in England and in the United States.
VOICE: "A woman who exercises her intelligence becomes ugly, mad, horrible".
VOICE: Words by Proudhon, known as an enlightened person.
VOICE: The first lady coach driver
VOICE: The first lady tram driver
VOICE: The first lady barrister
VOICE: The telegraph brings news from all over the world. New and ever improved writing machines are invented.
VOICE: Gain time and clearness. Get to the reader faster. Inform him.
VOICE: Confuse him.
VOICE: The fifth power: the Press.
VOICE: The 2nd International Closes In Paris.
VOICE: Captain Dreyfus, An Israelite From Alsatia, Condemned To Penal Colony.
VOICE: Racism, anti Semitism, social unrest.
VOICE: Crowned heads are repeatedly the target of anarchists.
VOICE: But la belle epoque doesn't wish to worry, to break the charm.
VOICE: There is a feverish vitality everywhere.
VOICE: La joie de vivre. VOICE: Elegance and style: the ceremony of horserace meetings.
VOICE: Velvet taffeta, organdy, shantung, crepes de Chine, swan down, frills, "bouilloned" sleeves VOICE: The new fashion frees women's body from pads and other devices.
VOICE: She becomes snail, dragon fly, peacock
VOICE: Wave, flame, froth
VOICE3: Other horses fight on, in the name of civilization, to subdue ancient peoples and cultures.
VOICE2: Europe extends its conquests
VOICE1: At any price.
VOICE4: At home cravings for and abuses of power, violence are barely concealed by rhetoric. Hymns are sung and monuments erected to science, progress, brotherhood among people.
VOICE1: The sign is already that of Art Nouveau.
VOICE: Laws of nature thousands of years old have been rejected. New ones are discovered.
VOICE: Propellers, wings, engines. The resistance of air has been overcome.
VOICE: Icarus' and Leonardo's dream has come true.
VOICE: The Wright brothers' first flight is made in 1903 and sets off immediate competition.
VOICE: To dare. Attempt. Defy.
VOICE: At all costs.
VOICE: At a high price
VOICE: "Vehement god of a steel race, you paw the ground champing at your bit with clashing teeth".
VOICE: These emphatic verses were written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a futurist.
VOICE: The holder of the uncontested leading role of the new century is born: the horseless carriage. The motor car.
VOICE: And with it is born a modern time hero: the car driver.
VOICE: daring, challenging, unrestrained.
VOICE: In England the Daily News doubts that one can be a good Christian and drive a car.
VOICE: But the motor car industry is there.
VOICE: Marchant. VOICE: Itala. Isotta Fraschini. VOICE: Fiat. Jaguar. Rolls Royce.
VOICE: Mustang. Duezemberg. VOICE: Hispano Suiza. Panhard. Peugeot.
VOICE: Daimler Benz. Renault. VOICE: At the beginning of the twentieth century, 600 different types of car are made in France, 110 in England, 80 in Germany, 60 in the United States and 20 in Italy.
VOICE: A scandalized Abbe Mounier notes in his diary: "young couples are more concerned about cars than about their own children."
VOICE: There is a new set of words: Cabriolet. Chassis. Garage.
VOICE: Pneumatic tires.
VOICE: Steering wheel.
VOICE: Or better "acoustic warning device".
VOICE: The accessory which more than others has excited modern day inventiveness.
VOICE: The accuracy of traditional craftmanship. VOICE: It's not surprising that these early models are now in museums all over the world.
VOICE: New objects. New functions. New style.
VOICE: A wind of novelty blows over even common, everyday objects.
VOICE: "A livening fever" says Musil.
VOICE: And Noone knew what was ahead, but everywhere people were revolting against the past. VOICE: An uncontrollable underground stream bursts to the surface, flows, floods.
VOICE: It's the new art.
VOICE: Baudelaire had prophesized a few decades before:
"Incomparable flower, tulip found again, allegorical dahlia "Is this not the land, so dreamingly calm, where one must go to live and flower?"
VOICE: Woman, nature.
An infinite world of shapes and colours VOICE: The same nature as ever, but freedom for each and all to interpret it their own way.
Re discover it.
Re live it.
VOICE: Art becomes restless, receptive, pliable.
VOICE: Art for all, art in all, it is said.
VOICE: New and surprising objects are brought out in the new style.
VOICE: Imagination weds technology. Fantasy finds new materials close at hand.
VOICE: So says William Morris: "Even the most irrelevant objects of our everyday life are incessantly transformed by art which mingles in everything and constantly re models our life to make it more worthwhile, joyful and social."
VOICE: The telephone, the first sewing machines. The introduction of water closets, hygiene, elegance!
VOICE: Lifts are iron cages, but made into elegant parlors.
VOICE: Fashion too adopts the new style.
VOICE: 'If you want to be beautiful', says Edward Godwin, 'use patterns of light and shadow, of rich and moving folds".
VOICE: Mysterious, bewitching, changeable, woman is the muse of the moment. Goddess, star, Sarah Bernhardt. Cleo de Merode. VOICE: Everlasting nature (woman, flower), and new symbols.
Beyond Maia's veil. VOICE: Musil writes: "Things have a second hidden life which nobody notices, the second, mysterious and unobserved life of things." VOICE: Colours. Sounds. Scents.
VOICE: Flowers, stems. Corollae.
VOICE: Rose. Lily. Wisteria.
VOICE: Arboreal forms, spaces, dynamics.
VOICE: Moods, atmospheres.
VOICE: New alchemies which bring with them new ways to manipulate traditional materials like glass, metal, ceramics, wood.
VOICE: It's called "Floral Style" in Italy
VOICE: "Spaghetti Style" say the English irreverently referring to the Italian craftsmen's wrought iron. Again Musil: If one had wanted to split up and analyze that period one would have found a nonsense, something like a square circle made of wooden:". iron, but really it would all them amalgamate and make bright clear sense."
VOICE: "Coup de fouet" the Whiplash curve.
VOICE: Escaping its natural, well used placing, the line is charged with new inside energy and tends to conquer new spaces.
VOICE: "art Nouveau" it was called in Belgium where it was practiced by great artists such as the sculptor Georges Minne. VOICE: "Jugendstil" in Germany, and "Sezession" in Austria: two schools that covered all fields and excelled in graphics.
VOICE: "Thermal style" sneer denigrators.
VOICE: Baden Baden, Vichy, Salsomaggiore, Montecatini have hurriedly turned themselves out in the new style.
Pliable. Polyvalent. Contradictory.
VOICE: "Square circle" Musil had said. Coexistence of opposites.
VOICE: The sacredness of ordinary life in Mackintosh's work (Britain) dynamic elegance of the line in Thonet's work. (Vienna)
VOICE: "I want the infinity of the stars and the transparencies of the bottom of the sea to show in my glasswork" says Galle about his vases. VOICE: Van de Velde, who aims at synthesis and the essential, says: "A line is an active power. Like all elementary forces." VOICE: Even more evident is the difference between architectural concepts: the elegant curves of Italian Liberty and the plain sobriety of German architects. (Peter Behrens, 1907). VOICE: In America, the exuberance of Luis Comfort Tiffany's stained glass.
And the simplicity of Frank Lloyd Wright's.
VOICE: The innovative movement from now on can be split into its two separate and in appearance contradictory tendencies.
VOICE: The English Arts and Crafts School.
VOICE: Capital city of the nation where the industrial revolution had taken place.
VOICE: And right there, paradoxically, with a nostalgic reference to the past, appear the first outlines of what will become Art Nouveau and will spread all over Europe.
VOICE: The Pre Raphaelites reject Raphael's classicism and refer back to medieval art.
VOICE: They are fascinated by the medieval contrast between the current materialism on one hand and the spirituality, taste for allegory and symbolism on the other. The sacred. VOICE: As in the music we are listening to, Elgar's "Enigma Variations".
VOICE: Old, medieval forms change color and become modern.
VOICE: The new Style.
VOICE: Formal and respectable Victorian England is desecrated by Oscar Wilde.
An atmosphere of perversion and scandal also surrounds the young Beardsley, illustrator of Wilde's "Salome".
VOICE: Perverse and refined, misogynistic and ironic, he died at the age of 25. "The sadist with a pencil in his hand" it was said.
Ah! I kissed your mouth, Jokanaan, I kissed your mouth. There was a bitter taste on your lips.
Was it the taste of blood?
VOICE: In contrast with Beardsley's complete freedom from convention there is William Morris's work, intended as a means of good social influence.
After the manner of medieval guilds, Morris forms the Arts and Crafts Society.
Its members are called "art workers".
The artist's role is "to bring beauty back to earth". Materials, wallpapers, rugs, embroidery.
VOICE: This too is New Style.
VOICE: Glasgow, in Scotland, home of the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his group.
VOICE: In industrial, smoky and black Glasgow, on the second floor of an unpretentious house, a white hall with white walls, white ceiling, white furniture.
VOICE: It's Margaret and Charles Mackintosh's first home and studio as related by a visitor. VOICE: Margaret and Charles Mackintosh (in their home/atelier) turned out project after project on the lines of William Morris's New Style philosophy:
"The new society will not be like we are, obsessed by nightmares under the pressure to produce more and more in order to gain profit it will produce to live and not, as we do, live to produce"
VOICE: Husband and wife together are engaged in the same research work. The husband has planned and built the Glasgow Art School.
VOICE: Its manifesto and the principles of its style.
VOICE: The library is the masterpiece. The scanning of internal spaces, filtering the light to represent spiritual purification.
Mackintosh. Nature. Japanese art. Middle Ages. A hint of the sacred runs through Mackintosh's work. Each action, even the most ordinary, becomes part of a ritual.
His chairs, his furniture, his interiors, his architectural projects are now "classics", meaning beyond fashion.
VOICE: But he and his wife after fame and recognition died poor and forgotten.
a sad story for those who like happy endings.
VOICE: From Scotland to Spain, to the discovery of new surprises.
VOICE: Barcelona today.
At the end of the l8 hundreds, the most industrialized town in Spain, the bridgehead stretched out towards the rest of Europe.
VOICE: Even nowadays butterfly houses still dominate the town. They appear suddenly on the far side of a square or at the bottom of a street.
Unexpected zoomorphic scenographies.
VOICE: A creative exuberance stemming from nature and that here again draws inspiration from the local middle ages. VOICE: Here New Style was called "Modernismo". Same movement. Different character.
VOICE: To say Barcelona nowadays is to say Gaudi. And we shall give him his due share of space later on.
Meanwhile we are listening to the music of Albeniz, the composer who joined the creative fervor of reborn Catalonia. VOICE: Catalonia fragrant with the scent of Moorish art. Of the oriental dockside warehouses.
VOICE: In the countryside, not far from Barcelona, the Bodegas Guell, the wine cellars belonging to wealthy Eusebio Guell y Bacigalupi, patron of the "Modernismo" movement.
The author is the architect Francisco Berguer, and it's a sort of medieval fort in white stone, surmounted by a large "G", initial of Guell. With an iron gateway recalling a drawbridge.
VOICE: The inventiveness of unknown craftsmen breaks loose in the creation of street lamps in wrought iron that still light up the nights of the present day city.
A widespread industriousness. A collective talent applied to the most diversified projects: shops, facades, balconies. Doors.
VOICE: Ramon Casas, close friend of Pablo Picasso, draws his inspiration from the beauty of Catalonian women in the streets. In parks. In gardens. In the plazas.
VOICE: A sort of local Toulouse Lautrec.
VOICE: No one believed it at the time, but that was a lightening conductor.
VOICE: Flamboyant, provocatory, the architecture of the Palacio de la Musica by Luis Domenech y Montaner. The structure in iron and brick follows strictly rational rules, but the exuberance of the ornamentation seems to escape all logic and control.
VOICE: And soon a concert of 'modernist' Catalonian music.
VOICE: Ladies and gentlemen please take your seats. The concert is about to begin!
VOICE: What is the first piece on the program?
VOICE: Zingaresque, by Pablo de Serazade. The author himself is conducting.
VOICE: And what do those statues on the wall represent?
VOICE: Catalonian musicians of old times. VOICE: Let's listen
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