Image via Photobucket and dirtbagger21
To me, Picasso’s Guernica lives right up there with Kurt Vonnegut’s accounts of the Dresden bombings. Civilians suffering at the hands of war technology from above. Director Robert Hessen and Alain Resnais drives this point home with their descriptions of simple village people turned into an unwilling victims of an experiment.
Regarding camera tricks, I admire at how they turn Picasso’s subjects into spectres with his manipulations of shadow and light. In a weird way, they use Baroque lighting on a Modernist piece. This forces you to focus on the subjects. Since Picasso created such a large painting for Guernica, the focus on the contorted faces crying and screaming captures the consequences of war. A narrated Paul Eluard poem heightens the anger and shock that grew out of the bombing. However, using bullet effects seemed a bit much and undermined the point Hessen and Resnais wanted to make. I feel horrible for writing this, but I thought it looked cheesy. I understand why, but the execution felt off to me. They could have just shown the portraits and left it at that.
ETA: Changed a link.