Alain Resnais, Ghislain Cloquet & Chris Marker - Les Statues Meurent Aussi [1953, Left Bank short film]. I reflected on late scholar and art critic Thomas McEvilley's infamous groundbreaking article for Artforum, "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief"
while watching this short film by Alain Resnais and Chris Marker. I think of Resnais, who made a short film about the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Guernica
, which obviously has a Picasso angle, as one of the more artsy documentarians among the Left Bank directors. Marker made works which are both artsy and dramatic, as in La Jetée
. Cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet captures the quiet power of the statues well in Les Statues Meurent Aussi
(English transl: Statues Also Die
). This is a progressive short film that questions cultural imperialism and colonialism -- particularly as it relates to Sub-Saharan Africa (some of the documentary was shot at Musée du Congo Belge). When I think about what this short film accomplishes, I also think of how McEvilley was doing the same thing Resnais and Marker did years before him. They were essentially questioning the art world establishment -- and perhaps the world at large -- along with offering a critique of cultural fetishization, the tendency to relegate legitimate, valid art to a category of being 'exotic' and the tendency to treat such art as if it is inferior to typically Western art.