Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wild hearse chase

Wow there are all kinds of Erik Satie resources online. I didn't realize that he appeared in a film called Entr'acte which was shown during the ballet "Relache" which was scored by Satie. You can see Satie at the beginning of the movie jumping up and down, wearing a bowler hat and holding an umbrella behind a cannon. Pretty frisky for a guy who died the next year.

You will want to watch this entire movie for its pure uncut loopiness, with the guy trying to shoot an egg balancing on a stream of water - it turns into a bird when he finally manages to hit it - the view from under the ballet dancer (did ballerinas really wear gartered stockings and granny panties in the 1920?) and the balloon-head family, but the essence of this movie is the wild hearse chase. I am going to go out on a limb and declare that this is the first wild hearse chase scene in the history of cinema. It begins with slow-motion running, which might be the best image in the history of the cinema. That part starts at 10:47.

Also cast in this movie: Jean Börlin, Inge Frïss, Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Darius Milhaud.

The music for the movie is not by Satie though, it's by Henri Sauget. And it is pretty perfect for the movie.

In every image of Satie he always looks quite jolly, like he's about to tell a great joke. You'd never know he lived most of his life in poverty without any significant others except Suzanne Valadon for six months. This mini-documentary captures some of the depressing aspects of Satie's life pretty well. I've embedded the first of two parts below.

Some of Entr'act is used in this documentary.

It's amusing that British people pronounce his name SAHT-ee rather than sah-TEE.

Since Satie knew everybody who was anybody in the French avant garde - his day job was playing piano in Le Chat Noir - his portrait was done by many other artists besides Valadon, including Cocteau and Picasso.

Satie by Jean Cocteau

Satie by Picasso

Satie by Santiago Rusinol

Satie by Ramon Casas

Satie by Santiago Rusinol

Satie even wrote no less than three articles for Vanity Fair Magazine:
And last but not least, a cartoon about Satie by Brunetti. You can read it if you click on it.