Jean Painlevé

Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé

Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé

The mesmerizing, utterly unclassifiable science films of Jean Painlevé (1902-89) have to be seen to be believed: delightful, surrealist-influenced dream works that are also serious science. The French filmmaker-scientist-inventor had a decades-spanning career in which he created hundreds of short films on subjects ranging from astronomy to pigeons to, most famously, such marine-life marvels as the sea horse and the sea urchin. This definitive three-disc collection brings together the best of these, and also includes the French television series Jean Painlevé Through His Films, rock band Yo La Tengo's eight-film score The Sounds of Science, and an essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald.

Film Info

  • Jean Painlevé
  • France
  • 315 minutes
  • Color
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #468

Special Features

THREE-DISC SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

  • New, restored digital transfers of all twenty-three films:

Disc One POPULAR FILMS

  • HYAS AND STENORHYNCHUS (HYAS ET STENORINQUES) 1927 10 minutes Black & White
  • SEA URCHINS (OURSINS) 1954 11 minutes Color
  • HOW SOME JELLYFISH ARE BORN (COMMENT NAISSENT DES MÉDUSES) 1960 14 minutes Black & White
  • LIQUID CRYSTALS (CRISTAUX LIQUIDES) 1978 6 minutes Color
  • THE SEA HORSE (L'HIPPOCAMPE) 1933 14 minutes Black & White
  • THE LOVE LIFE OF THE OCTOPUS (LES AMOURS DE LA PIEUVRE) 1967 14 minutes Color
  • SHRIMP STORIES (HISTOIRES DE CREVETTES) 1964 10 minutes Color
  • ACERA, OR THE WITCHES' DANCE (ACERA OU LE BAL DES SORCIÈRES) 1972 13 minutes Color
  • THE VAMPIRE (LE VAMPIRE) 1945 9 minutes Black & White
  • FRESHWATER ASSASSINS (LES ASSASSINS D'EAU DOUCE) 1947 24 minutes Black & White
  • SEA BALLERINAS (LES DANSEUSES DE LA MER) 1956 13 minutes Color
  • DIATOMS (DIATOMÉES) 1968 17 minutes Color
  • PIGEONS IN THE SQUARE (LES PIGEONS DU SQUARE) 1982 27 minutes Color

THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE

  • Eight films with original score by Yo La Tengo
  • Interview with Yo La Tengo

Disc Two EARLY POPULAR SILENT FILMS

  • THE OCTOPUS (LA PIEUVRE) 1927 13 minutes Black & White
  • SEA URCHIINS (LES OURSINS) 1928 10 minutes Black & White
  • DAPHNIA (LA DAPHNIE) 1928 9 minutes Black & White

SILENT RESEARCH FILMS

  • THE STICKLEBACK’S EGG (L’OEUF D’ÉPINOCHE) 1925 26 minutes Black & White
  • EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT OF A HEMORRHAGE IN A DOG (TRAITEMENT ÉXPERIMENTAL D'UNE HÉMORRAGIE CHEZ LE CHIEN) 1930 4 minutes Black & White

FILMS FOR LE PALAIS DE LA DÉCOUVERTE

  • THE FOURTH DIMENSION (LA QUATRIÈME DIMENSION) 1936 10 minutes Black & White
  • THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL (IMAGES MATHÉMATIQUES DE LA LUTTE POUR LA VIE) 1937 14 minutes Black & White
  • VOYAGE TO THE SKY (VOYAGE DANS LE CIEL) 1937 11 minutes Black & White
  • SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LENGTH AND SPEED (SIMILITUDES DES LONGEURS ET DES VITESSES) 1937 10 minutes Black & White

ANIMATION

  • BLUEBEARD (BARBE-BLEU) 1938 13 minutes Gasparcolor
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • More than two hours of interviews with the filmmaker, drawn from the eight-part television series Jean Painlevé Through His Films, directed by Denis Derrien and Hélène Hazera
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald
    New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Purchase Options

Special Features

THREE-DISC SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

  • New, restored digital transfers of all twenty-three films:

Disc One POPULAR FILMS

  • HYAS AND STENORHYNCHUS (HYAS ET STENORINQUES) 1927 10 minutes Black & White
  • SEA URCHINS (OURSINS) 1954 11 minutes Color
  • HOW SOME JELLYFISH ARE BORN (COMMENT NAISSENT DES MÉDUSES) 1960 14 minutes Black & White
  • LIQUID CRYSTALS (CRISTAUX LIQUIDES) 1978 6 minutes Color
  • THE SEA HORSE (L'HIPPOCAMPE) 1933 14 minutes Black & White
  • THE LOVE LIFE OF THE OCTOPUS (LES AMOURS DE LA PIEUVRE) 1967 14 minutes Color
  • SHRIMP STORIES (HISTOIRES DE CREVETTES) 1964 10 minutes Color
  • ACERA, OR THE WITCHES' DANCE (ACERA OU LE BAL DES SORCIÈRES) 1972 13 minutes Color
  • THE VAMPIRE (LE VAMPIRE) 1945 9 minutes Black & White
  • FRESHWATER ASSASSINS (LES ASSASSINS D'EAU DOUCE) 1947 24 minutes Black & White
  • SEA BALLERINAS (LES DANSEUSES DE LA MER) 1956 13 minutes Color
  • DIATOMS (DIATOMÉES) 1968 17 minutes Color
  • PIGEONS IN THE SQUARE (LES PIGEONS DU SQUARE) 1982 27 minutes Color

THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE

  • Eight films with original score by Yo La Tengo
  • Interview with Yo La Tengo

Disc Two EARLY POPULAR SILENT FILMS

  • THE OCTOPUS (LA PIEUVRE) 1927 13 minutes Black & White
  • SEA URCHIINS (LES OURSINS) 1928 10 minutes Black & White
  • DAPHNIA (LA DAPHNIE) 1928 9 minutes Black & White

SILENT RESEARCH FILMS

  • THE STICKLEBACK’S EGG (L’OEUF D’ÉPINOCHE) 1925 26 minutes Black & White
  • EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT OF A HEMORRHAGE IN A DOG (TRAITEMENT ÉXPERIMENTAL D'UNE HÉMORRAGIE CHEZ LE CHIEN) 1930 4 minutes Black & White

FILMS FOR LE PALAIS DE LA DÉCOUVERTE

  • THE FOURTH DIMENSION (LA QUATRIÈME DIMENSION) 1936 10 minutes Black & White
  • THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL (IMAGES MATHÉMATIQUES DE LA LUTTE POUR LA VIE) 1937 14 minutes Black & White
  • VOYAGE TO THE SKY (VOYAGE DANS LE CIEL) 1937 11 minutes Black & White
  • SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LENGTH AND SPEED (SIMILITUDES DES LONGEURS ET DES VITESSES) 1937 10 minutes Black & White

ANIMATION

  • BLUEBEARD (BARBE-BLEU) 1938 13 minutes Gasparcolor
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • More than two hours of interviews with the filmmaker, drawn from the eight-part television series Jean Painlevé Through His Films, directed by Denis Derrien and Hélène Hazera
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald
    New cover by Rodrigo Corral
Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé
Credits
Director
Jean Painlevé
"The Sounds of Science" score by
Yo La Tengo

From The Current

Marcel Dzama’s Top 10
Marcel Dzama’s Top 10

The Winnipeg sculptor, painter, and collage artist Marcel Dzama’s eclectic choices for his top ten range from avant-garde underwater shorts (Painlevé) to noir (The Third Man) to New Wave (The Fire Within) to contemporary experimental (Guy Maddin).


Nathan Lee’s Top 10
Nathan Lee’s Top 10

Nathan Lee is a critic, curator, and unrepentant champion of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. A former film critic for the New York Times, the Village Voice, and NPR, he is a contributing editor of Film Comment and member of the National Society of


Weird Science

Apparently, a group called the Secret Science Club threw a pretty happening Painlevé party in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. Seems we weren’t on the guest list (well, it is after all “secret”), so it’s a good thing that the Guardian’s Ben Walte…


Jean Painlevé:
Going Beneath the Surface

Probably no substantial dimension of film history has been so thoroughly ignored by American film critics, historians, and theorists as the nature film (or “wildlife film”): those works of cinema that purport to reveal the lives of other species.…

By Scott MacDonald


Jean Painlevé’s “Ten Commandments”

Next week, we release a definitive, three-disc set of the short documentaries of Jean Painlevé (1902–89), the pioneering French scientist-educator-filmmaker (and sometime Dadaist) whose mesmerizing studies of marine life, especially, have been att…