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Les statues meurent aussi 1953
Description: Short documentary ordered by the magazine "Présence Africaine". From the question "Why is the african in the Human museum while Greek or Egyptian art are in Le Louvre?", the two directors expose and criticise the lack of consideration for African art. The movie was censored in France for eight years because of its anti-colonial perspective.
Released: 01 May 1953 Director: Ghislain Cloquet, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais Writers: Chris Marker Actors: Jean Négroni Genres: Documentary, Short
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Les statues meurent aussi Reviews:

"When boys die, they become history. Once statues die, they become art. This botany of death is what we call culture." This smart opening line sets up high expectations for the viewer, and the movie succeeds in redeeming all of them. After seven months I saw this movie for the second time, this time on the large screen, and therefore decided to write a brief review of the film, I so admire. The movie is an clever analysis of the cruelty by which imperialism has destroyed the art of the original Africa. It was made by two French masters to come - Alain Resnais (Hiroshima mon amour) and Chris Marker (La jetee). Together they created a masterpiece which changed our method of looking at Africa, due to which the movie was immediately banned for four years.In the late 1940's India became independent and it was just a matter of time when Europeans would receive kicked out of Africa. Africa begun to wake up. Before this documentary folks had only experienced Africa through imperialistic consciousness - Tarzan movies were all the material folks had seen of the colony and Africa's own movies were still waiting to be made. The movie was years ahead of its time, depicting imperialism - the political, economical and cultural exploitation of colonial possessions, and the European feeling of superiority. Just as Jean Rouch's The Angry Masters (1954) so did this documentary, about the art of indigenous peoples, receive banned and therefore is still quite unknown compared to other documentary by Alain Resnais, about the legacy of WWII and concentration camps, Night and Fog (1955).The commentary track by Chris Marker leads us to the sacred globe of artifacts. But when they receive cataloged and place behind museum showcases, they die too. We are shown how original art gets destroyed, how the old core values vanish. There is no sense in categorizing objects into art in a globe where everything is art, a type of globe which Africa here represents. A boy of the African community sees so much more in this art - he sees the faces of culture, where all we see is external beauty and picturesqueness.Statues Also Die is a movie about racism and western thoughts of superiority: "We look at Negro art just as it would gain its right to exist after giving the pleasure to us." African art is full of soul and beauty, filled with significance. But as Europeans steal it and take it from their land to the cold museums, the art loses its meaning. Europeans can only play it aesthetically, they only see its external side and not the essence of it. They adore this art and as demand grows it turns into mass-production, trash - bazaar art. Nice art has been purchased and spoiled, the black boy was paid to sell his soul, to turn his heritage, culture and life into a comedy. Religious needs were replaced by commercial interests; "folklore, sports and music." The black boy was able to create fun of the white boy in the ring, or in a basketball minigame but after they won, they got bashed and kicked in the name of racism. The role of the boxer or the drummer, in the ring or in the orchestra, was born from the need to return the strikes their brothers had taken from the white boy in the streets. White boy enslaves the black man; an illustrating moment is the picture where a white boy is guiding a black boy to create a bracelet - white boy has turned original African art into a portrait of himself.


"Les statues meurent aussi" or "Statues also Die" is a half-hour documentary from France. This was made in 1953 by three cute successful filmmakers, namely Chris Marker, Alain Resnais and (not yet) Oscar champion Ghislain Cloquet. This movie is already almost 65 years old today and I cannot really tell it has aged too well. First of all, despite the early attempt to explain the title, it does not really fit the film. The movie depicts art for a long time and African masks, which is perfectly fine as there are probably many folks who are interested in this subject. I myself am not among these. And then, soon on, the movie makes a fully random jump into culture, politics and society in Africa and also asks questions about race equality. I personally felt this did not fit in at all with everything we have seen earlier, regardless of how necessary and relevant the topics may be. Also color may have helped a entire lot as large part of the movie is now about color and also seeing these masks early on in color would have elevated the material for sure. I personally don't think this was a nice watch. Thumbs down from me.



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