Tag Archives: french

Tourist Stranger – self-portraits in Mexico

French photographer Benoit Pallé enjoys exploring the theme of the Stranger. This project, spotted on the excellent It’s Nice That (a glorious soubriquet for a cultural web colander if ever I saw one), sees him wandering the beaches of Mexico allowing tourists to capture themselves, photo-booth style. They are fab.

‘Tourist Stranger Self Portraits’

Henri le Chat, l’ennui se continue

A tip of the hat to Miss Daisy.

Starvation, cannibalism and madness – The Raft of the Medusa


(best viewed large)

The Raft of the Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse) is an early 19th century oil by French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault (1791–1824), and an icon of French Romanticism. At a whopping 5 x 7 metres, it shows the horrifying aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of Mauritania on July 5, 1816.

At least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation, dehydration, cannibalism and madness. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain perceived to be acting under the authority of the recently restored French monarchy.

In choosing the tragedy as subject matter for his first major work, Géricault consciously selected a well-known incident that would generate great public interest and help launch his career (something modern artists aren’t exactly strangers to – a bit like painting the Twin Towers today). The event fascinated the young artist, and before he began work on the final painting, he undertook extensive research and produced many preparatory sketches. He interviewed two of the survivors, and constructed a detailed scale model of the raft.

His efforts took him to morgues and hospitals where he could view, first-hand, the colour and texture of the flesh of the dying and dead. As the artist had anticipated, the painting proved highly controversial at its first appearance in the 1819 Paris Salon, attracting passionate praise and condemnation in equal measure. However, it established his international reputation, and today is widely seen as seminal in the early history of the Romantic movement in French painting.

Man Bites Dog

Sort of a Clockwork Orange for the 90s: a camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people. Slowly he begins involving the camera crew in his activities, and they begin wondering if what they’re doing is such a good idea. It’squiteadarkfilm.

“You can tan while you make love. When you’re through you’ve got a brown ass.”

“If you kill a whale, you get Greenpeace and Jacques Cousteau on your back, but wipe out sardines and you get a canning subsidy!”

“Once I buried two Arabs in a wall over there… Facing Mecca, of course.”

“Usually I start the month with a postman.”

French strikers

Mass rallies against pension reform – full gallery here (or click the photos).

Makes me think the Brits lack passion.