Leonor Fini: The Sphinx of Surrealism

*A reblog to honour Leonor Fini’s Birthday*

The Surreal Atelier

Welcome to The Surreal Atelier! I decided to launch this website on this particular date, 30 August, to celebrate and honour Birthday girl Leonor Fini. Here is my tribute to one of Surrealism’s most exhilarating artists.

Leonor Fini by Carl Van Vechten (1936)

“While still a child, I discovered the attraction of masks and costumes. At fourteen, I walked through the streets of Treiste with a girl of my age, with foxtails stolen from our mothers sewn to our skirts. To dress up is to have the feeling of changing dimension, species, space. You can feel like a giant, plunge into the undergrowth, become an animal, until you feel invulnerable and timeless, taking part in foreign rituals”. 1

Of all the Women Surrealists who I have ‘met’ over the years (and I love them all dearly), Leonor Fini captivates me the most. Her persona, her art, her world…Fini spun an existence where women…

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Book Review – Picasso: The Artist and His Muses (Editor: Katharina Beisiegel)


According to Naomi Segal, ‘muses stand for the eyes downcast, the body proffered somewhere around the navel, mindless, organless, giving, an inspiration at the price of being fast-frozen. No, if she darts, glances or wiggles violently, she is no muse’. [1] In my 2012 thesis, “Women Surrealists: Sexuality, Fetish, Femininity and Female Surrealism”, I argued for the women of the movement; how the art they created was more powerful and far greater than that of their mates. These women, through their presence and formidable talent, confronted preconceptions and traditional muse stereotypes, challenged masculine imposed labels and asserted their independent artistic authority:

In retrospect, however, what appears just as relevant is that this creature, as the male artist’s muse, was relied on as much by her mate as she relied on him; the male Surrealist was dependent on her presence to fuel his creativity and he would have been unable to fulfil the creative potential of the great Surrealist mission without her company. [2]

Far from being a role of condescension, muses hold great artistic power. As Patricia Allmer, in reference to Lee Miller, has stated: ‘the muses do return as outstanding artists’. [3] These women – these muses – are catalysts: they have initiated and inspired some of the greatest works of art, determined career trajectories and provided spouses with creative motivation. The career trajectory of Pablo Ruiz y Picasso would have been very different without the influence of six particular women in his life: Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque.

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s current exhibition,‘Picasso: The Artist and His Muses’ (11 June 2016 – 2 October 2016, created by Art Centre Basel, curated by Katharina Beisiegel and produced in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery) puts these women at centre stage. Together with the accompanying book from Black Dog Publishing, essays by scholars, curators and art historians provide a chronology of Picasso’s life and art detailed through rich, densely informative academic papers in a combination of biography, art history and critical theory. The book included two forewords, an introduction and six chapters.

Picasso’s narrative begins with Fernando Olivier – ‘his first great love’ – who escaped a violent marriage and found success in Paris as an artists model. They became a couple in 1904, and her only duty was to be Picasso’s muse: no domestic chores or sitting for other artists. Together until 1912, their artist/model union kickstarted Picasso’s creativity, lifting him out of his Blue period and into his Rose period. She was the catalyst for the Cubist movement, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and inspired Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909).

In 1917 Picasso met ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova. Part of the Bellet Russe, Olga had scandalised audiences when cast as an adolescent in The Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia in 1913. They married and had a son, Paul, and he would paint her seated, in ballet pose or with their child: mother, muse and dancer, a vision of maternal femininity. Olga was a keen photographer and her thousands of images – documenting the artist at work, their family on holiday or at play – continue to provide a unique, priceless record of the artist’s private life. Dora Maar was to continue this tradition.

Picasso began his affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter, the 17 year old who he first saw standing outside a Paris department store, in 1927. Their liaison, conducted in secret at first, saw the frustrated artist lovingly include her initials in his paintings, lovingly entwined for all to see. Their late 1920/early 1930s union saw Picasso experiment with depictions of the female body while Marie-Thérèse’s youth and vigour, evident through the bright colours and rounded curves, inspired some of Picasso’s most sexual and erotic imagery, including his Bathers series and Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust (1932). Their daughter, Maya, was born in 1935.

This same year Picasso’s walked into Paris’ Les Deux Magots and set eyes on the Surrealist photographer Dora Maar. Their well-documented introduction, initiated by Paul Eluard, was the start of a passionate, volatile relationship between two brilliant artists who collaborated and influenced each others work: she dabbled in painting while he experimented with photography. Dora’s unusual beauty and temperamental personality (she suffered from depression) challenged Picasso as a portrait artist, leading him into more Surrealistic styles of painting. Picasso called her a genius yet she is often reduced to The Weeping Woman after the infamous 1936 portrait that captured her in complete mental anguish. This relationship was rooted in war – both internal and on the streets – and Picasso’s work takes on an element of violence during this time. Dora assisted with his seminal work Guernica, and she can be seen in the painting, her distorted face and tears representing both the agony of political suffering and her pain of loving a man sharing himself between lovers (Picasso continued see his ex-partners and their children). Their relationship was to end alongside the war.

The calm era signalled the arrival of Françoise Gilot. The young art student, who became the mother of his two youngest children, would latet pen the book, “Life with Picasso”, detailing her time with the artist. During this time Picasso’s art took on a peaceful, almost serene, nature and he rediscovered his love for the lithograph technique. A family visit to Vallauris in the South of France ignited an interest in ceramics – he thought nothing of using his son, Paulo’s, toys for his assemblages – and two years later, 1948, his first ceramics exhibition was held. As a subject, Françoise is slightly cut-off and more unreadable than Picasso’s previous lovers, with an independence and steeliness separating her from the outside work (and her family). Less submissive and more determined than his previous partners, she kept something of herself hidden throughout their relationship, and never entirely relinquished herself to him. She stated: “I had known from the start that what principally appealed to him in me was the intellectuals side and my forthright, almost tomboy was of acting, my lack, in a sense, of what is called ‘femininity’”

Picasso’s final years were spent with Jacqueline Roque as the chapter examines how Picasso’s inspiration was as much from the history of art as it was from wives, mistresses and models.  Tribal masks and African art greatly influenced Picasso during this time, and the book’s concluding chapter, rooted in the theories of French ethnographer Michael Leiris, examines his various muses and inspirations during the final years of his life. Picasso’s art became transformative as he reimagined and reinterpreted of the work of old masters through contemporary art. The muse’s portrayal was also effected. Jacqueline’s identity, which would have previously been so individual and realistic, dominating the image with personality and vitality, fades into the image as she loses her individuality. It is not her story, her face on canvas; she has become absorbed into Picasso’s narrative.

Without having attended the exhibition, it is difficult for me to say how it compares to the book and vice-versa. However, this is a superb piece of work – either to be read as a companion to the exhibition or independently – demonstrating the complexity of the muse and the fluid, constant reinvention of Picasso’s work. Each of these women were responsible for unleashing a fresh creative talent within the artist. These six women, this diverse group with their own unique temperaments and personalities, inspired Picasso and kept his art relevant.

Artists and their muses is a subject that will continue to fascinate because, deep down, the muse is never who she seems. There is always more to her than her appearance. She is inspiration, yes, but her own unique person – whether artist, dancer, mother or nurturer – with a powerful artistic presence. When you look at these women, whether on gallery walls, in books or on art documentaries, when you consider them and ponder their influence, they become elevated. These are the faces and the personalities who inspired masters and created their own art. Listen and look to these muses. They are the ones with stories to tell.


Picasso: The Artist and His Muses is on show at Vancouver Art Gallery until October 2, 2016. The accompanying book is out now, published by Black Dog Publishing


[1] Naomi Segal, ‘Who Whom? Violence, Politics and the aesthetic’ in Jana Howlett and Rod Mengham (eds), The Violent Muse: Violence and the Artistic Imagination in Europe, 1910-1939 (Manchester University Press: Manchester and New York, 1994), pp. 141-149, (p. 141).

[2] Sabina Stent, Women Surrealists: Sexuality, Fetish, Femininity and Female Surrealism, Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham, (2012), p. 7.

[3] Patricia Allmer (ed.), Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism (Manchester: Prestel, 2009), p. 16.






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Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline


“I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls”

Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls may have obvious connections to the Manson Family (the cultish leader, the devoted followers, mass murder in the summer of 1969) but it is much more than sensationalist fiction. At its core, this is an astute examination of teenage girls: a story of female friendship, idolatry and devotion, of emotions as raw and exposed as wounds, of isolation, obsessions, sexual hunger and curiosities intensified with the heat of the long summer months.

In the summer of 1969 Evie is fourteen years old and lives comfortably in “the good part of town” thanks to the legacy of her Grandmother, an actress during Hollywood’s golden age. However recently divorced parents, a mother absorbed by New Age therapies and out-growing her best friend has left Evie seeking something more (“I was waiting for something without knowing what”). Deeply self-critical – “there was no shine of greatness on me” – she is an easy target for predators, a wanderer to be moulded and manipulated, made to believe anything if they tell her what she wants to hear.

Her world changes when she claps eyes on ‘The Girls’ at a summer fair. Cline’s language is love-struck and dreamy, like a thunderbolt from the sky, meriting both an internal and external shift (“there was a subtle rearranging of air”). This is the beginning of Evie’s new obsession; an intense infatuation with the nineteen year old, dark haired Suzanne, the noticeable ringleader of this group of skinny girls with their parted hair and dirty summer clothes, who shoplift groceries and dumpster dive for discarded produce in skips outside restaurants.

Evie offers to steal for them and is soon on their bus to their ranch, described  as “an orphanage for horny children”, littered with the skeletons of cars, hangers on, animals and grubby feral children. They tell her that she is a solstice offering to the mysterious Russell (obviously Manson) who resides over the ranch as an emperor or King, his loyal followers falling or clinging to his feet as if he were a deity. He is cooed over, described as ‘a Wizard’ and wields a sinister influence over everyone – men, women and children.

Yet, for Evie, it is never about Russell. It is never about his invisible hold, never about his philosophies, never that he ‘shares’ his women or even what he is capable of making others do. Instead, it’s all about Suzanne whose approval she is desperate to obtain. She loots money for Suzanne’s approval, runs away from home on two occasions and fails se Suzanne’s aloofness as anything other than her mask of protection. It’s an unrequited love affair – a girl who just wants to be seen – yet the relationship makes Evie feel needed and with purpose. She finds her time at the ranch freeing; she can be whoever she wants to be and is able to discard her privilege like a burden she was made to carry all of her life: “I was one of them.”

The brutality and knowledge of the Wonderland murders constantly hovers in the background and the horror is never diminished. Importantly, Cline’s interest is more in the family’s female followers than Manson himself. Although this is obliquely present in The Girls, Russell’s invisible, sinister hold them ensures his hands are kept clean while others do his bidding and the moment of carnage builds with a gripping intensity and inevitable horror. The description of Suzanne, her bloodied hands over a mother and child, is a penetrating, deeply disturbing image.

Cline excels at the small details that others may consider inconsequential – the beauty rituals of girls, the doubts plaguing the female mind – especially Evie’s internal conflict: whether she would have joined in or stopped them – and of strength (“the girls had been stronger than Russell”). The Girls is touted as the read of the summer and it deserves it’s reputation. Last summer Karina Longworth devoted her Old Hollywood Podcast titled ‘You Must Remember This’ to the Manson murders and now Cline has ensured that the ghosts of 1969 remain stronger than ever.

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Respectable: The Mary Millington Story (Simon Sheridan, 2016)


Mary Millington was the girl from Dorking who became the biggest star in the British porn industry. She had no inhibitions, loved sex and was not ashamed of her body, her actions, or what she did for a living. She was the Golden Girl of porn who brought the industry to mass attention until depression and drugs took her life at the tragically young age of 33.

Born Mary Maxford – the result of her single mother’s having an affair with a married man – the young, lonely girl found the audience that she so desperately needed through modelling and pornography. The documentary about her life, Respectable: The Mary Millington Story, is keen to emphasise how liked and even respectable Millington was off-camera. Peppered with contributions from her ex-lovers, photographers, journalists and female friends/co-stars  – as well as audio recordings of Millington – make it known that this was a sweet girl saw noting wrong with having sex on film for money.

Her moniker became the most recognisable name in porn – she owned sex shops, made films, did photo-shoots and was earning astronomical sums of money. Understandably for a girl who grew up poor, this fortune became her security blanket. She carried her money around in large handbags, frequently battled with authority over censorship and constantly refused to pay taxes. This was a time when hardcore pornogaphy was still illegal in the UK and Millington could not understand why everybody did not share the same views as her on the subject.

Things soon turned sour and her warmth persona masked a woman crippled by self-doubt and sadness that was momentarily relieved when she was working. Her ten-year marriage of convenience was pushed even further into the background, and her mother’s death, after a ten-year battle with cancer, sunk her into a deep darkness. This was only exacerbated by her mixing with drug culture and unsavoury characters – including Diana Dors’ hard-drinking husband Alan Lake. Neither come over too well here and their influence appears to have triggered a downward spiral of severe depression ending in 1979 when Millington was found dead with pills, vodka and a suicide note by her side.

While the documentary succeeds is to show how Millington forged such an astonishingly successful career in an industry that was not legal until twenty years later, it’s often slightly repetitive, a little long, and the conspiracy theories surrounding her death seem slightly out of place given the information presented. Yet it is still intriguing and interesting to note if – or even how – today’s attitudes to sex, pornography and the industry have changed.

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TCMFF 2016 Postscript – Monday 2nd May: A Night At The New Beverly

My last night in Los Angeles would not have been complete without a visit to the New Beverly. For ages I have lusted over their programme from afar and now, on my final night, I had been presented with a perfect opportunity: Avanti! (1972) followed by Fedora (1978). Perfect – a double dose of Billy Wilder.

S'up @newbeverly!

A photo posted by Sabina Stent (@sabinastent) on


Avanti! is a family favourite and if you have ever visited Italy (especially Southern Italy) you will understand why this is such a funny film. The country’s bureaucracy, national mentality, the food, the attitudes – everything is exposed so perfectly and on the nose that you are not mocking a cultural stereotype but laughing because it is so familiar. Once, visiting relatives in Italy many years ago, we were in a restaurant when the waiter began to rapidly relay the varieties of pasta they served. I burst into laughter because it reminded me so much of a certain scene. Also, it is Jack Lemmon doing his note-perfect uptight shtick and Juliet Mills as his insecure, loving opposite. It may not be one of Wilder’s most praised or best loved films but it is a gem nonetheless.

Fedora and Avanti! double at @newbeverly on Monday night! Who's coming?

A photo posted by Sabina Stent (@sabinastent) on


Then, for a complete change of pace and tone, Fedora. Wow. This very obscure Wilder centres on a faded, reclusive movie star (Marthe Keller) whose ex-lover (William Holden) – now a Hollywood producer – attempts to lure out of retirement. My interpretation of the film was a combination of tragedy and body horror while Ariel (who kindly came out for my final night despite having work to do!) mentioned that it was Wilder’s version of his much long-for-but-never-made horror film. Fedora seeks youth and beauty because she wants to stay young and relevant: she’s mannequin-like, eternal, vampiric and I found it rather fittingly that the veneer of her appearance had unintentionally been enhanced by the slight pink/peach tone of the 35mm film. It was a perfect exposition of the lethal and deadly nature of the showbiz industry. A befitting film for a final night in Hollywood.

Really awesome mini-#TCMFF reunion to watch #BillyWilder at the #NewBeverly tonight with @sabinastent & Shane!

A photo posted by Ariel (@archivistariel) on

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TCMFF 2016 – Sunday 1st May: “We’ll Always Have In-N-Out Burger”

Sunday. The final day. A day to say final hellos, drawn-out goodbyes and leave our happy bubble. It took forever to get here and now it’s Sunday. How did it got so quickly? We were just gaining momentum! I know that the final day hits people hard – and that every year it does not get any easier – but I know I was not prepared for the emotional gut punch that hit everyone hard that evening.

Starbucks and Sirk Sunday#TCMFF

A photo posted by Sabina Stent (@sabinastent) on


I was up and about early for Douglas Sirk’s lush and heartrending All That Heaven Allows (1955) which was to be introduced by the director Allison Anders and TCM Film Programmer Millie De Chirico. I had already met Allison at The Formosa – she is the sweetest person – and and we had another chat after the film. Her introduction highlighted the relationships between single parents and their grown up children; how in the film Jane Wyman’s son and daughter are determined to keep their widowed mother in their childhood home, glued to a TV screen, and alone while she should be out having fun and enjoying her life with Rock Hudson. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking film and screened DCP was stunning. I have never seen the film on the big screen but the colours were extraordinary – the red dress, the greenery, the snow…everything looked so luxuriant.


It was nice to walk out of the theatre and into Laura, Aurora and Kellee – aka the festival’s designated ‘Ribbon Lady’ – who kindly showered me with many collectable ribbons. I stayed around the TCL for Horse Feathers (1932) in the early afternoon. Most of you already know that I am slightly nutty about a certain troop of brothers and equally adore their tragic co-star Thelma Todd. The Marx Bothers are always more fun in a crowd and it was great to chat to Danny and watch him sketch before the film started. Kristen gave out masks and we posed alongside Anne and Peter to mark this gathering (thanks to Emily for capturing this moment!) My only gripe was that the restored print was a little scratchy and the scenes with Thelma appeared to have either been cut or they jumped in a very distracting way. This was pity as they are amongst my highlights of the film. Nevertheless, Chico’s piano scene was perfect and I could not take my eyes off Thelma as she watched on, mesmerised as we all as by Chico’s extradorinaiy talent.

After the film I found Beth and was able to procure a lovely red lipstick from the Besame Cosmetics range that she was giving away at the festival as part of her “find Beth, get a lipstick or a powder!” giveaway. She was an in demand lady and I had not seen her around since the Wednesday night. We chatted for a bit in a group then I ran to catch my friend Ben for a nice long chat at Starbucks. It seemed fitting after the film as we talked a lot about British comedy – Ben, I hope I did not bore you with show recommendations and general chat!


Thema and Groucho would appear before every TCMFF screening (obviously they were not blurred).

I was very tempted to end TCMFF with Network (1976), especially as Faye Dunaway would be in attendance and I had visited Peter Finch’s grave at Hollywood Forever. However, the general gossip that this would be the festival’s ‘hot potato’ and you needed to be there pretty early to secure a place in line. Instead I plumped for The Bandwagon (1953).

In hindsight I cannot think of a more perfect film to have ended my festival experience. Preceded by an insightful interview between the choreographer Susan Stroman and Illeana Douglas, The Bandwagon – starring an almost retired Fred Astaire and drawing on his problems of dancing with the ‘too tall’ Cyd Charisse – utilises real, behind-the-scenes experiences in a homage to Broadway shows and Hollywood’s golden age. The in-jokes fly, it is snappy, funny, and the choreography is exquisite. As for the end number…wow, Cyd Charisse is an on-screen Goddess, vixen, vamp – the woman can do no wrong. I left the cinema on a high and vowing to continuing my ballet classes when I returned home. Final film over, it was time for The Roosevelt and the TCM closing night party.

Ah, the wrap party. Or, the night when we get a little tipsy, say hello to those we had yet to run into (looking at you Noralil and Jill!) and saying goodbyes to everyone else. I entered Club TCM to be greeted with a lovely big hug by Nora which only set the president for the night ahead. Lots of laughter, photos and promises to keep in touch (which we do anyway thanks to the beautiful gift of social media) and preventing the inevitable. I also got to chat with Peter L. and see Kim M. which was the icing on a brilliant, if bittersweet, night that saw us all trundling over to In-N-Out Burger for the definitive selfie of the festival before saying our goodbyes.

Everyone asked what was my highlight of the festival and I would always say the same thing: “seeing everyone and hanging out with friends”. As much as the films draw people to this event year after year – and yes, this is now an annual event for me, too – I think that seeing people is the bigger incentive. Sure, what other festivals will you see such an array of talented people, Hollywood legends, rare pre-codes or obscure cinematic gems, but to be surrounded by people who ‘get’ your love for a particular era and share the same enthusiasm as yourself is really the icing on the cake.

My first TCMFF was about putting friends and fun before films. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a damn thing.

Same picture but now with 90% more @mrmattpatterson #TCMFF

A photo posted by Raquel Stecher (@quellelove) on

ps. Everyone in this photo – everyone who was not in this photo – THANK YOU. I HAD THE BEST TIME!!! Until we see each other again – whether next year in Hollywood or hopefully before – I will leave you with this quote. To paraphrase Rick from Casablanca: “We’ll always have In-N-Out Burger”.

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TCMFF 2016 – Saturday 30th April: Perfect Waves

Saturday already?

With two days left, it was time to step up a gear. There were still friends to see – those I kept missing during the festival and others who would not be attending – so a little strategic planning was in order. As previously stated, viewing priorities change on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Intentions to The Big Sleep (1948) and The Long Goodbye (1973) fell by the wayside but my original priority remained and I excitedly joined the queue for ‘An Afternoon With Carl Reiner’/Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982).


I cannot recall the first time I saw Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid but I do know that it was at home, it was during the nineties and it was very likely on VHS. I have always been surrounded by Film Noir and was spoon fed the images of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall since I was born. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I was the only girl in school whose Dad had movie stills of Bogart, Bacall and James Dean tacked up in his wardrobe. The photos were there before I was born and, almost forty years later, they are still hanging up there on their original sticky tabs from the seventies. (Hi Dad!)

The beauty of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is how it draws out everything that we love about Noir and gently pokes at elements we overlook or take for granted. It’s a funny film but we are not laughing at the Noir genre itself: we laugh because these are elements so recognisable – the slaps around the face, copious amounts of coffee and liquor, the midnight phone calls, the shoot-outs in offices. This was reciprocated by Eddie Muller – aka “The Czar of Noir” – whose introduction specified that some of his first experiences of the genre came from this film and opened them up to a whole new, younger, audience.

After the film we had the pleasure of seeing Illeana Douglas interview the film’s writer and director Carl Reiner. Such a treat – I could have listened to them talk all day. Aged ninety-four, Reiner is still as sharp as a tack, and his “oyster in a slot machine story” anecdote (use your imagination) had the audience in stitches. He gave plenty of context to the film – describing the writing/selecting the relevant scenes process as akin to a puzzle, and how its star Steve Martin (who co-wrote the film) stayed away from Noirs beforehand lest it influenced his portrayal. I learnt (and loved) the part about his crew being assembled of many individuals who had worked on some of the original films, for example composer Miklós Rózsa (Double Indemnity, 1944; The Lost Weekend, 1945) and the renowned costume designer Edith Head (winner of eight Academy Awards, including All About Eve, 1951; Roman Holiday, 1954; To Catch a Thief, 1956). It was to be Heads’s final film, an appropriate finale to a career spent dressing some of Noirs most infamous characters.


I did not stay for Reiner’s book signing but took a brief pause to catch up with friends Larry and Emily, who had texted to say that they were just around the corner. Although I had only talked with Larry prior to meeting we had a great chat and they were super nice and gracious of their time. Again, felt privileged to finally meet and talk face-to-face with people who I admire and respect after many years.

Then it was back over to Club TCM at The Roosevelt for A Conversation with Elliot Gould and to grab some Warner Archive DVD’s off Matt. Alec Baldwin was hosting and the camaraderie was lively, fun and funny. The only problem was the room itself. You know the Rior Grrl mantra “Girls to the Front”? Well, the same should have applied in Club TCM – especially “Small Girls to the Front” – as I, and many of my friends, stand at 5’0 and struggle to see a thing apart from people’s backs. Matt was struggling too. Here’s the proof. (And yes, we found humour in this and were probably the ones being shushed).

Then it was back to the TCL to see Craig and ‘Becca from This Cinematic Life. One of my favourite couples, we seem to have known each other for years and it was baffling that this would be another first. That’s the trouble with the Internet: we often forget that we are living in separate countries are not minutes away from each other. As I was going to The Endless Summer (1966) and they were seeing The King and I (1956) we basically spent the hour looking and trying the footprints outside the theatre. Very little time but a pleasure nonetheless.

On my way into the cinema I ran into Raquel. FINALLY! We kept missing each other at the Reiner afternoon and there, with no plan in action, had run into each other for the same film! We obviously marked this momentous occasion through Instagram.

Finally met the lovely @quellelove!!! @tcm #TCMFF

A photo posted by Sabina Stent (@sabinastent) on


Marya’s affection for The Endless Summer was a large part my choosing this film. She had talked so enthusiastically over drinks the previously evening that I would have kicked myself had I missed it. Having thoughtfully saved us places, I sat with Marya, Kristen and Raquel for the Bruce Brown interview and two hours of total relaxation.

The film is pretty self-explanatory – a documentary about surfers in search of “the perfect wave”. The film had no distribution deal in place on its release yet managed to bewitch audiences and critics with its simplicity and enthusiasm. Even though I would venture back across to Club TCM that evening for some of Forbidden Planet (1956) I thought about how appropriate The Endless Summer is in the context of TCMFF: the best moments are nothing particularly flashy or fancy – sitting with friends, talking, watching films – yet in these moments find what you are really wanting and searching for: the most sought after perfect wave.



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