Resisting Paradise

2003, 79:04 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on video

"Hammer has crafted an eloquent and richly layered examination of the artist’s and individual’s role in times of conflict. Resisting Paradise focuses on Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard’s artistic work in the south of France during World War II, while also examining the word of Matisse’s family and others in the French Resistance Movement.

"Featuring captivating interviews with former Resistance workers Lisa Fittko (who smuggled Walter Benjamin out of France), Marie-Ange Allibert, and Matisse’s grandchildren, rare archival footage, and lush cinematography referencing the painters’ styles and the rich landscape of the Provence of France, Resisting Paradise is a compelling look at the intersection of art and life in complex times." — Maria-Christina Villaseñor, Guggenheim Museum, New York

Sound Designer: Laetitia Sonami. Production Assistants: Lisa Fonti-Straus, Ryan Cunningham. Animation Stand: Joel Frenzer. Video Colorist: Troy Thompson. Voice-Overs: Matisse: Henri Zerner, Bonnard: Alvin Epstein, Marie-Ange Rodriguez: Thérese Gilbrat, Germaine Cremieux: Jacqueline Chambord. Actors: Walter Benjamin: Barbara Klutinis, Amélie Matisse: Arlene Zallman, Marguerite Matisse: Bettina Bergo, Bonnard: Rudy Binion, Matisse: Denys Colomb de Daunant.

Researchers: Lisa Fonti-Straus, Bonnie Rowan, Tony Paschall. Archives: Carrie Wagner Archive, Harvard Film Archive, Les Heritiers Matisse, National Archives, Library of Congress, Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse. Foundation: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Matisse Paintings © 2002 Succession H.Matisse/Artists’ Rights Society (ARS), NY. Fellowships: Camargo Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Funding: Creative Capitol, Experimental Televsion Center, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Radcliffe Insitute for Advanced Study

Thanks to: Germaine Cremieux, Claude Dhthuit, Lisa Fittko, Joe Gurland, René Lion, Jacqueline Matisse Monnier. Thanks also: Alexandra Anthony, Michele Bazillou, Beatrice Benchetrit, Rosamund Bernier, Florrie Burke, Yves-Alain Bois, Michelle Cone, Linda Dittmar, Husayn Fruhsorter, John Gianvito, Joel Katz, Ken Kobland, Bruce Jenkins, Jeanne Jordan, Ruby Lerner, Robb Moss, Soizick Munir, Linda Olstein, Stephan Pierce, Michael Pretina, Private Idaho, John Russell, Harriet Stella, Susan Suleiman, Roger Veilleve, Judith Vichniac, Josette Vincensini

This film is dedicated to: Marie-Ange Allibert Rodriguez, 1912-1999