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Edouard Manet was a flaneur in 19th century Paris. At ease among the grande bourgeoisie, a friend of Zola and Baudelaire, his interest turned gradually from history painting to scenes of city life. All his life he longed to be recognised, but works like Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia gave rise only to scandal. Moreover, his provocative snapshots of everyday life struck the viewer as only half-finished, a quality appealing to the artists later called Impressionists.
The film was shot on location at the Musee d'Orsay, the home of French nineteenth-century art; in Spain, to evoke the landscape and culture which so influenced Manet s early work; and around Paris, where, in the bars, cafes, salons and theatres, the atmosphere of the society in which Manet lived can still be captured. Archive material is used to show the city as it was in Manet's day.
Written and Directed by Didier Baussy-Oulianoff