Carlos Vilardebó

Scen.: Alexandre Calder. F.: André Bac, Patrice Pouget. M.: Anne-Marie Cotret. Mus.: Pierre Henry. Prod.: S.N.P.C. – Société Nouvelle Pathé Cinéma. DCP. D.: 29’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Alexander Calder made his Cirque Calder during his very first years in Paris. The whole thing fits into two suitcases. It consists of a ring and a set of tiny figurines made out of cheap, brightly coloured materials, which move in such a way as to replicate various numbers. Calder performed his circus in his own apartment in the rue Daguerre, in Paris. Long before the mobiles and the stabiles, these circus animals and human figurines, originally intended as toys, were equally about the physics of balance. “Calder had exercised incredible ingenuity in devising this number. Nothing was missing, not the net under the trapezes, nor the play of handkerchiefs, nor the minute bag to cover a doll’s head when he was to perform a giant somersault”. (Michel Seuphor, Douce Province, 1941).Twenty years after the era of the rue Daguerre, Hans Richter filmed some of Calder’s figurines in Dreams That Money Can Buy; then in 1955 Jean Painlevé shot Le Grand cirque de Calder, 1927. Carlos Vilardebó made three shorts about the sculptor, Le Cirque de Calder (1961), Les Mobiles (1968) and Les gouaches de Sandy (1973). He also made a film about Jean Tinguely (1971). But whereas the latter uses motors to propel his sculptures, Calder performs his circus before an invisible audience, playing the MC himself and setting his sculptures in motion by hand. They must approve of the fact of being manipulated by their creator. Indeed, Viladerbó shoots so close that his images seem to conjure the very act of creating life.

Stéphanie Salmon

Copy From

Restored in 2019 by Pathé at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from the original negatives