M.: Jean Painlevé, Geneviève Hamon. DCP. D.: 13’.
After The Octopus from 1928, Jean Painlevé starts filming a second film on this mollusc around 1957, this time in colours, at the Laboratoire Arago of Banyuls, in the Eastern Pyrenees, and in Roscoff, in Brittany. The filming of Les Amours de la pieuvre lasted ten years, the month of August being the only month in the year to observe the egg laying and the evolution of the eggs of the Octopus vulgaris. Whereas in the silent film La Pieuvre, Jean Painlevé insisted on the plastic and static aspects of the animal, he evidences here the dynamism of the octopus’ movements. The film shows the motion of the octopus, out of water, at low tide, and then under water. It studies the use of the respiratory system as a rudder, the behaviour during mating and egg-laying, and finally, the development of the embryo and the hatching of the eggs.
For this film, Jean Painlevé asked Pierre Henry, pioneer of concrete music, to compose an original music that, when associated with the strange voice of the narrator and to Jean Painlevé’s text, produces a remarkable effect. The commentary, furthermore, is a brilliant combination of literary and humourous style.