Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Paris, Cheatin', and Gustave Doré..

After the Anima festival in Belgium, I took a train to Paris to help promote my new animated feature "CHEATIN'" (over there, it's called "Les Amants Electrique", or "The Electric Lovers")  It opens in France on April 23, so I was there in the City of Lights to do press.  And press I did!

I started the interviews at 9 am, and went straight through to 6 or 7 pm.  Some nights I would hope screenings of my earlier features "Hair High" or "Les Mutantes de L'Espace", or I would hold Master Classes at various institutions like Gobelins or Atelier de Sevres, which is based in the old historic Gaumont Film Studios.

E.D. Distribution, who have been handling my films in France for over a decade, put together a great campaign to promote the film.  I met with all of the big press organizations, and they all seemed to like the film.  So we have high hopes for the French success of "Les Amants Electriques" - I've got my fingers crossed.

Sunday was my only free day in France, so I decided to check out the Gustave Doré exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay.  I got there early so I could avoid the crowds - no such luck.  Everyone else had the same idea.  I'd never been much of a fan of this genius illustrator before, because all I saw were his religious prints, and I found them very formal and boring.

Then, I found an old book of his, "The Amazing Adventures of Baron Munchausen", and I discovered his humorous illustrations - very lively and fantastic!  (By the way, I discovered that this was where the great caricature artist David Levine got his inspiration.)

The exhibition was terrific, because it showed his early work (he was, naturally, a child prodigy), his humorous caricatures, religious prints, huge paintings, his art of London and Spain, his brilliant sculptures and finally his sumptuous Irish and Scottish landscapes.  The guy could do anything and he did it brilliantly!

One of the most interesting sections of the show was where they showed how his fantasy prints and paintings had an influence on Hollywood films.  So many great directors found their inspirations in his creations - Stanley Kubrick, D.W. Griffith, Terry Gilliam, David Lean and many others.

Another very interesting fact that I was not aware of before was that the critics could never accept his art as serious - they preferred the more avant-garde painters, like Renoir, Manet, etc.  His work was too illustrative to be taken seriously, which of course is absurd, because he was tremendously popular with the public, and was a master draftsman.

Also, he was so damn prolific - he created 100,000 works of art by the time he was 30 - Whew!

So, I feel a real kinship to his work and career, and I encourage you to check out this great artist.

--Bill Plympton


  1. Just a shame that nobody talked about your coming in France BEFORE.
    I would have loved to attend to the masterclass.

  2. You were in Paris? I missed you by just a few days! I could have run into you at the museum had i timed my trip differently :( ! Still, the Doré exhibition was the highlight for my time there. I bought the exhibition book in the museum gift shop and still going through it. I think it's one of best purchases of my life!