Opening Night

Focus #10

Wed 13 October 202113.10.21
5 rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris
Single price: 5€
UGC/MK2 and CIP cards accepted

Opening night in two parts

First part : The CJC Pioneers

Programmed and presented by Raphaël Bassan and Anielle Weinberger

The films of the CJC’s founders, Marcel Mazé, Noël Burch, Raphaël Bassan, Yves-André Delubac, Luc Moullet, are shown alongside those of people who were involved in its creation, such as Marguerite Duras. Those who have accompanied its development with their writings, as Dominique Noguez, or who are still present today, such as Anielle Weinberger. Their films were part of a post-New Wave French tradition, which aimed to (de)construct a “film differently”, oscillating between autobiography, fiction, memory and testing the boundaries of cinema.

Noël Burch
16 mm
Jemina, fille des montagnes
Anielle Weinberger
16 mm on digital
Marcel Mazé
16 mm
Le chant des signes
Yves-André Delubac
16 mm on digital
Le litre de lait
Luc Moullet
Una vita
Dominique Noguez
16 mm
Raphaël Bassan
16 mm on digital
Marguerite Duras
35 mm

Second part : Agricultural film × Bracco

From the depths of the archives of the CJC, Champs (Fields), an agricultural film never screened before, made by an artist named Alexandre, who disappeared in the 1980s. The film is quietly in line with the studies on time and landscape that punctuate the history of experimental cinema. It will be screened on 4 screens simultaneously, in 16 mm, with a musical accompaniment by the group Bracco, which will propose an unprecedented agricultural improvisation.

Film agricole × Bracco

Champs — Peintures Dévoluy
16 mm

16mm four screen projection - with live music by Bracco

First part : The CJC Pioneers

The films of the founders of the Collectif Jeune Cinéma, Marcel Mazé, Noël Burch, Raphaël Bassan, Yves-André Delubac, Luc Moullet, exist along those of personalities who were involved in the creation of the CJC such as Marguerite Duras. Those who have accompanied its development with their writings, notably Dominique Noguez, or who are still present today, such as Anielle Weinberger who found a copy of Yves-André Delubac’s Chant des signes. Their films were part of a post-New Wave French tradition that aimed to try to (de)construct a “different kind of film”, oscillating between autobiography, fiction and testing cinema’s boundaries. Even if not all the films were conceived at the time of the birth of the CJC, they carry within them something of the independent cinema of the time: how to create a film differently, by its duration, by the form of the narrative, of the editing, by the power or absence of the word.

Two main axes meet: one that has to do with memory, all memories (Le Litre de lait, Luc Moullet), Una Vita (Dominique Noguez) and Césarée (Marguerite Duras). The memory summoned is personal, linked to the filmmaker, as in Moullet and Noguez, even if the former uses, as usual, a quirky and tongue-in-cheek fiction and the latter a montage of photos of himself running from childhood to maturity. But Moullet also evokes his youth, through an adventure that disturbed him and that he kept secret until the death of his mother: how will his teenage alter ego go, in fiction, to the shopkeeper whose husband was fooling around with his mother? As for Duras, she deploys a mise en abyme of historical memory: that of the statues from the late 1970s, filmed in Paris, some of them undergoing renovation, whose images echo the filmmaker’s voice-over evoking the memory of Berenice, the queen of the Jews, once chased away by Titus. And the memory of a Paris 1979, already an archive in itself.

The other major axis, particularly prevalent at the time, was to tell, to describe, to dismantle or reassemble the mechanisms of cinematographic creation. Raphaël Bassan evokes a day of shooting, the tests can be taken for a minimal fiction. Is an actress slowly putting on make-up a fiction or a ready-to-shoot ? (Prétextes). Marcel Mazé, contrary to other filmmakers, highlights a single parameter: the questioning of the depth of field by the technique of focusing the lens. From his characters in search of focus, the spectator does not fail to look for the book by Woody Allen read by one of the actresses (Focalises).

The most radical film in this category is Yves-André Delubac’s Le Chant des signes - specially restored for this screening - which brings out, from the very word, but with difficulty and after long black shots, an image that reappears and multiplies. This short film, which makes maximum use of the black screen, could pass for an experimental film, but it is not experimental in the sense that we give it. It is a “theoretical and rhetorical work” on the difficult birth of an image that extracts itself from the black. Nothing to do with Kubelka or Frampton. It’s a film that comes directly from what one could read in Cinéthique or Cahiers at the time. This appearance of the image is like a Caesarean section from the text.

In Jemina, daughter of the mountains, Anielle Weinberger shows the cinema as a great illusion: from the literary cliché of F. Scott Fitzgerald to the illusory femininity of the Hollywood star-woman. Alternating black and white and color, playing with the soundtrack and the images or tricking the dollies with impressing panoramas. A playful de-construction/reconstruction.

If the films of Duras, Delubac, Moullet and Weinberger are films in which the word (that of the artist in voice-over) is paramount and produces meaning, the films of Bassan, Noguez, Mazé are devoid of words, but are conceived “musically”, Mazé’s is even silent. Noël Burch’s Noviciat is a talking film (like Moullet’s, though very different), the oldest and most sophisticated of this session. It is an S&M tale that is also an apprenticeship film whose anti-hero - André S. Labarthe - is a man of the eye, future head of the “Cinéastes de notre temps” series.

- Raphaël Bassan and Annielle Weinberger

Part 2: Agricultural film × Bracco

Alongside the pioneers of the Collectif Jeune Cinéma, there is another kind of member: those who were not necessarily involved in the structure, who submitted only one film, and of whom we never heard again. Yet their films remain.

Freed from the administrative red tape that obliges us to keep secret a film whose owner has disappeared, the Collectif Jeune Cinéma wants to keep alive these orphan-looking works and sometimes finds, through public screenings announced on the internet, the relatives of these films abandoned forty or fifty years ago. We take as much care with these films as we do with those of canonized filmmakers.

It is thus quite logical that, for the opening of the festival, we bring together recognized figures of experimental cinema with that of an almost anonymous film, present in our archives for many years, never shown publicly, and signed by an artist named Alexandre. The film was made with his partner at the time, Jacqueline Duperrex, in their home in the Hauts-Alpes, in front of the Dévoluy mountain. Only one inscription remains on the box: “Take the time to see this film in its entirety! Agricultural and contemplative film”. The film, inspired by the treaties of Chinese painting, puts us in front of a field and a mountain in the background, always from the same point of view, at various times of the day, interspersed with various appearances reminding us of the narrative variations of a Michael Snow.

If at the time, certain filmmakers, notably French, liked to play with the stretching of time as a joke, the ambition of this film is elsewhere and resolutely more serious, if only by its length and the rigor of its realization. This is a rigorous work on stretching. It is perhaps a distant cousin of Andy Warhol or James Benning, or even Michael Snow, in the way he uses narrative variations within the fixed shot.

Notably, the film was never screened publicly and neither Alexandre nor Jacqueline Duperrex were connected with the experimental film scene. However, the film was sent to the CJC who, following the precepts of the cooperatives, accepted the film without any prejudice and took as much care of it as they did of the other films in the catalog, which allows us today to (re)discover the film.

For this rediscovery, we decided to screen the film in a new way: the four reels of the film, each lasting 30 minutes, will be projected simultaneously. The film will be set to music by the Parisian band Bracco, who usually… play a rather urban electro-punk style of music, and who will propose a new agricultural improvisation for our opening.

- Théo Deliyannis

Bracco - Anxious to slip in wherever a scene can be found, a dancefloor, Bracco dedicates its tracks to those who chose not to choose, those for whom punk and techno carry the same hedonistic impulse, and who indulge their vice without a glance for the old chapels and paragons. Their first album Grave was released in 2019. Currently in residence at La Station, they are preparing their second album scheduled for 2022.