Europe After the Rain: Watch the Vintage Documentary on the Two Great Art Movements, Dada & Surrealism (1978)

“Dada thrives on con­tra­dic­tions. It is cre­ative and destruc­tive. Dada denounces the world and wish­es to save it.” So says one nar­ra­tor of jour­nal­ist-film­mak­er Mick Gold’s Europe After the Rain, a 1978 Arts Coun­cil of Great Britain doc­u­men­tary on not just the inter­na­tion­al avant-garde move­ment called Dada but the asso­ci­at­ed cur­rents of sur­re­al­ism churn­ing around that con­ti­nent dur­ing the first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. “Dada want­ed to replace the non­sense of man with the illog­i­cal­ly sense­less. Dada is sense­less, like nature. Dada is for nature, and against art. Philoso­phers have less val­ue for Dada than an old tooth­brush, and Dada aban­dons them to the great lead­ers of the world.”

Of the many bold and often con­tra­dic­to­ry claims made about Dada, none describe it as eas­i­ly under­stood. But Dada has less to do with intel­lec­tu­al, aes­thet­ic, or polit­i­cal coher­ence than with a cer­tain ener­gy. That ener­gy could fire up the likes of André Bre­ton, Sal­vador Dalí, René Magritte, Gior­gio de Chiri­co, and many oth­er artists besides, chan­nel­ing frus­tra­tions with the state of post-World War I Europe into a sen­si­bil­i­ty that demand­ed rip­ping every­thing up and build­ing it all again, begin­ning with the very foun­da­tions of sense.

Gold and his col­lab­o­ra­tors on Europe After the Rain under­stand this, audio­vi­su­al­ly inter­pret­ing the lega­cy of Dada, which despite its short lifes­pan left behind a host of still-strik­ing works in text, image, and sculp­ture, in a vari­ety of ways.

“The movie is full of trea­sures,” writes Dan­ger­ous Minds’ Oliv­er Hall, includ­ing “BBC inter­views with Max Ernst and Mar­cel Duchamp from the Six­ties, a read­ing of Artaud’s ‘Address to the Dalai Lama,’ an account of Freud’s meet­ing with Dalí.” He adds that its “re-enact­ment of Breton’s dia­logue with an offi­cial of the Par­ti com­mu­niste français is illu­mi­nat­ing, and com­ple­ments the oth­er valu­able mate­r­i­al on the ‘Pope of Sur­re­al­ism’: his work with shell-shocked sol­diers in World War I, tri­als and expul­sions of oth­er Sur­re­al­ists, col­lab­o­ra­tion with Leon Trot­sky in Mex­i­co, less-than-hero­ic con­tri­bu­tions to the French Resis­tance, and study of the occult.” But then, the kind of mind that could launch a move­ment like Dada — which fifty years after its end remained fas­ci­nat­ing enough to inspire a doc­u­men­tary that itself holds its fas­ci­na­tion forty years on — is capa­ble, one sus­pects, of any­thing.

Watch the uncut ver­sion of Europe After the Rain above.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The ABCs of Dada Explains the Anar­chic, Irra­tional “Anti-Art” Move­ment of Dadaism

Read and Hear Tris­tan Tzara’s “Dada Man­i­festo,” the Avant-Garde Doc­u­ment Pub­lished 100 Years Ago (March 23, 1918)

Three Essen­tial Dadaist Films: Ground­break­ing Works by Hans Richter, Man Ray & Mar­cel Duchamp

Hear the Exper­i­men­tal Music of the Dada Move­ment: Avant-Garde Sounds from a Cen­tu­ry Ago

Dress Like an Intel­lec­tu­al Icon with Japan­ese Coats Inspired by the Wardrobes of Camus, Sartre, Duchamp, Le Cor­busier & Oth­ers

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (2)
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  • Pooja says:

    Great Post.
    Thank you for shar­ing this with us.

  • Maya says:

    That’s fas­ci­nat­ing! “Europe After the Rain” sounds like an incred­i­ble project. The lega­cy of Dada is so rich and diverse, and inter­pret­ing it through audio­vi­su­al means must bring a whole new dimen­sion to its appre­ci­a­tion. It’s amaz­ing how Gold and his col­lab­o­ra­tors are bring­ing these strik­ing works to life in new and inno­v­a­tive ways. I can’t wait to expe­ri­ence their inter­pre­ta­tion of Dada’s impact!

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