In 1950, Henri Langlois, director of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, and his partner, Frederic Rossif, decided to launch a conceptually ambitious series of artists' films.
"We provide the artists with the technical means for filming and let them do their thing."
In autumn of the same year, at the Avant-Garde Festival in Antibes, they entrusted Picasso with a 16mm camera, and color film. To his great joy, Picasso became a movie director in the gardens of Le Fournas over the period of several weeks. Delighted with this new experience, he filmed a series of improvised scenes inspired by his usual themes.
Picasso's episodes depicted stories that were interpreted by actors with painted bodies and sculptures set up in improvised decors. True to himself - Picasso painted directly on the actors skin and distorted their bodies. Their bodies thus became immense living ceramics whose movements made the paintings come alive.
The finished product, The Death of Charlotte Corday is a humorous reference to the famous 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David, entitled The Death of Marat, making reference to the revolutionary who was stabbed in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday - a subject that Picasso himself painted in the 1930's.
Picasso's little film productions turned out like filmed theater, falling somewhere between animation and performance art. Unfortunately however, the film no longer exists, as it was never produced or marketed and only a few photographs remain.