GERTRUDE STEIN: WHEN THIS YOU SEE, REMEMBER ME
(1970) (RT 1:30:00)
(Produced and Directed by Perry Miller Adato)
Widely recognized as a pioneering work of the biographical documentary genre, the film was highly innovative at the time. To create a vivid, living portrait of Gertrude Stein, it combines vintage photographs, letters, works of art, songs, archival and newsreel footage and radio. In addition, live musical and dramatic performances are based on Stein’s writings; interviews with surviving witnesses who were part of Gertrude Stein’s legendary charmed circle, contribute intimate recollections.
Artists, writers and a wide variety of fascinating personalities beat a path to 27 rue de Fleurus, for Gertrude Stein’s salon was one of the most sought-after in Paris in the early decades of the Twentieth century. This biography views Stein within the time, the place and the milieu in which she thrived, aided and abetted by her life-long companion Alice B. Toklas. The script is derived mainly from Stein’s cleverly mistitled self-portrait The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, supplemented by candid on-camera conversations with friends and colleagues, among them Virgil Thompson, Janet Flanner, Jacques Lipschitz, Pierre Balmain, Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, Bennett Cerf, Mrs. Jenny Bradley and Georges Hugnet. Through images and voice-over quotes by actors, other key players in her life are summoned: William James, Ambroise Vollard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Juan Gris, Thornton Wilder, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and others. Gertrude Stein: When This You See, Remember Me includes numerous examples of Stein’s poetry and literature such as: Three Lives, Tender Buttons, The Making of Americans, her opera Four Saints in Three Acts and Wars I have Seen which are presented visually or dramatized by leading actors.
Until recently, Gertrude Stein’s role as an early champion of Cubism and a trailblazing patron of Picasso and Modernism was far better known than her obscure writings.
Her art collection at 27 rue de Fleurus has been called “the first museum of modern art.” With the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1934, Stein’s writing finally reached a broad audience. Many lesser-known works have now achieved wide publication and her powerful literary influence is acknowledged and continues to grow. As always, Gertrude has the last word…”My writing is as clear as mud but mud stays and clear streams flow on.”