A film by Manfred Kirchheimer
2014, 29 minutes
No. 200

A marvelous exploration of Cezanne's "Still Life with Apples," Leo Hurwitz and Manfred Kirchheimer probe the mysteries of this modern masterpiece by simply observing the work, closely without commentary, focusing on the details - the brushstrokes, abstract shapes, color juxtapositions, hidden images - and in the process, discover its secrets. 

Hurwitz and Kirchheimer first filmed Cezanne's "Still Life with Apples" in 1968 at the Museum of Modern Art. Hurwitz conceived it as a voiceless journey of discovery. Through framing and editing the images would simply flow, revealing the intimate interior of the artist's world. There would be no one but the viewer's own sensibilities as a guide. 

Hurwitz edited the film without sound. He knew it needed a score, and was a master at creating exciting, innovative sound tracks for his documentaries. He tried short pieces of music that would highlight his ideas, but encountered problems. While he could control the placement of the pieces, their endings occurred at random points in the film, leaving an explosive silence that seemed to indicate a special significance where there was none. He would let the problem lie and come back to it from time to time, though never settling on anything final. The film remained unfinished when Hurwitz died in 1991. 

Kirchheimer, Hurwitz's longtime colleague who originally shot the film, finally took up the gauntlet in 2013. Without altering any of Hurwitz's editing he chose somewhat longer music so he could control the endings by fading, interrupting or merging them with other pieces. Between the excerpts he added an assortment of sounds from a museum so the occasional absence of music would have a softer landing. The result allows the viewer to pass through the images of the painting undisturbed.

"Atmospheric and tactile; a meditation on the masterpiece." - Educational Media Reviews Database