Magritte. The false mirror

DirectorDavid Sylvester
One line synopsisA film on Belgian Surrealist painter, René Magritte (1898-1967), shot during the 1969 exhibition of his work at the Tate Gallery.

Le Fils de l’Homme / The Son of Man (1964). Photograph of René Magritte holding the painting. VO talks about his regular and conventional lifestyle. Le Faux Mirroir / The False Mirror (1928). L’Assassin Menacé / The Menaced Assassin (1926). VO relates story of Magritte kicking visiting friend of his wife’s. L’Histoire Centrale / The Heart of the Matter (1928). Les Objets Familiers (1928). Le Dormeur Téméraire / The Reckless Sleeper (1928). La Femme Introuvable / The Elusive Woman, 1928) Le Palais d’une Courtesane / A Courtesan’s Palace (1928). Le Musée d’une nuit (1927). VO reading Magritte’s words about playing in a cemetery and seeing artists at work. Les Objets Familiers. Sound of electric tram (?) stopping. Les Jours Gigantesques (1928). Entracte / Intermission (1927). Tram starts up again. The False Mirror. Magritte on making thoughts palpable through painting, the art of painting, incapable of expressing feelings, etc. La Fin des Contemplations / The Last of the Contemplatives (1927), Le Masque Vide / The Empty Mask (six panels) (1928). Another Empty Mask (four panels) (1928). Le Démon de la Perversité (1927). The Elusive Woman. L’Aimable Vérité / The Pleasant Truth (1966). Magritte on the question of how to paint a likeness. The Reckless Sleeper. La Sortie de l’Ecole / Leaving School (1927). L’Apparition (1928) and others. "An image shouldn’t be confused with something tangible." A Courtesan’s Palace. The Signs of Evening (1926). "An image of likeness can never result from the illustration of a subject." Baigneuse du Claire au Sombre (1936), La Belle Captive (1950). "Likeness is a thought capable of becoming visible through painting." La Belle Captive (1931) La Condition Humaine (1933). Les Promenades d’Euclide / Euclidean Walks (1955), and others including The False Mirror, Le Modèle Rouge (1935). L’Explication (1952) (orange version). La Lampe Philosophique (1936). Le Thérapeute (1941). Le Viol / The Rape (1934), and Le Mouvement Perpétuel (1935). Perspective: Madame Récamier de David (1951) La Lampe Philosophique. L’Invention Collective / Collective Invention(1935). La Méditation (1936). Le Temps Menaçant / Threatening Weather (1929). The Marches of Summer (1938-1939). Repeated views of several of these.Paintings including a version of La Domaine d’Arnheim, Le Chant de la Violette / The Purple Song (1951), Pledge (1950), and The Childhood of Icarus (1960). Time Transfixed / La Durée poignardée (1938). The Listening Room / La Chambre d’Ecoute (1952). Les Valeurs Personnelles / Personal Values (1952). Les Memoirs d’un Saint (1960). The False Mirror. Pink Bells and Tattered Skies / Grelots roses, ciels en lambeaux (1930). "When I was a child, a little girl and I used to play together in the old disused cemetery of an old provincial town…" The Annunciation (1930). The False Mirror. "It seemed to me then that the art of painting was vaguely magical and the painter endowed with superior powers." The Messenger. Le Drapeau Noir / The Black Flag (1937), and others including L’Idole (after) (1965). The Messenger. The Song of the Storm / Le Chant de l'Orage (1937). The Battle of Argonne (1959). The Sense of Realities (1963). Commentary notes that Magritte’s mother committed suicide when he was twelve, describes the finding of her body in the river, her face covered with her dress, and says that Magritte claimed to enjoy being the centre of a tragedy. La Clef de Verre (1959). The Heart of the Matter. The Reckless Sleeper. Others including L’Inondation / The Flood (1928), Les Cornes du Desir (1960); several paintings shown again. Les Amants / The Lovers (1928). The Musings of a Solitary Walker (1926) and others. "The work of most artists is conceived under the illusion that it needs to be done..." Principe de Plaisir / The Pleasure Principle; Portrait of Edward James (1937) and others including The Son of Man (1964) and Golconde (1953). "I am obliged not to believe. There is no point of departure." Credits.

Production companyBritish Film Institute
Running time19 minutes
Full credits

Words by E.L.T. Mesens, Louis Scutenaire and Magritte;
Music by Brahms;
Paintings reproduced by courtesy of Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique,
Crédit Communal de Belgique,
Minneapolis Institute of Arts,
Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Tate Gallery, London,
Moderna Museet, Stockholm,
Private collectors,
Mme René Magritte;
Photograph of Magritte by Bill Brandt;
Spoken by E.L.T. Mesens,
Andrew Forge,
Robin Campbell;
Extracts from Brahms’s Sextet opus 18 played by
the Amadeus String Quartet with Cecil Aronowitz and William Pleeth;
Photographed by Bruce Beresford;
Assistant Cameraman Cedric Pheasant;
Assistant Editor Michael Wakely;
Sound Recordist Edgar Vetter;
Dubbing Mixer Ted Ryan;
Edited by Peter Heelas;
Directed by David Sylvester.
Produced by the British Film Institute for The Arts Council of Great Britain.
© ACGB 1970.

Film segmentMagritte. The false mirror - ACE025.2
Magritte. The false mirror - ACE025.3
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