September 4, 2007

Jean Painleve, the surrealist Jacques Cousteau

Jean Painleve is the surrealist Jacques Cousteau. He was literally associated with the first wave of French surrealists before embarking on his career as a documentary filmmaker. In the age of dvd, youtube, and the Discovery Channel, I cannot figure out why he hasn't been properly introduced to America. He could even be marketed as the "Jacques Cousteau for Stoners"! Yo La Tengo did their part by playing music live behind his films.

Here's a scan of the book Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painleve, released by Brico / MIT Press a few years ago. I don't know why there's a book about him in English, but no DVD available for sale in America.

Here's a postcard for the book:

October 07 update: you can now purchase a DVD set of his movies in the UK. Here's a link. (The set is "region 2," so check that your dvd player can handle it.) A US version is hopefully in the works from Kino or a similar dvd company. The UK set seems to be a compilation of the two French dvds which were produced over the past few years.

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