Click on a film title to see its technical profile, press review, photographs…
and the film itself with English subtitles.
I started by making three short documentaries in SOUTH AMERICA at the end of the sixties:
Cuarahy Ohecha (What the Sun Sees) - Manojhara (The Land of the lepers) - Los Dias de Nuestra Muerte (The Days of our Death).
I only returned forty one years later, having forgotten everything, except what I couldn’t forget and that I relate in my last film, Memoria Desmemoriada (Paraguay Remembered - 2011-2015).
At the beginning of the seventies, having become an activist at the « Cahiers de Mai », I hurriedly put together several STRUGGLE FILMS that workers on strike or who had decided to go on strike asked for. Most of these films are lost, but the first one and the last one remain: The Penarroya File: the Two Faces of the Trust and LIP or A Taste for Collective Action, which was selected at the Cannes Film Festival (Perspectives du cinéma français) in 1977.
After the relative failure of the film I attempted to make in 1981 about a couple who were friends of mine
(Passage to India), I thought: if you want to talk about intimacy, talk about yourself. That is how I embarked, through the years, on the realization of four AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FILMS, each very different from the previous: The Documentary Filmmaker or a Childhood Tale (1988), The Letter that Was Never Written (an hour-long single-shot for the LIVE series – 1990), Celebrations (1991-1999), Paraguay Remembered (2011-2015).
Around 1990, I wanted to do a series on THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS.
The first program was about Jean Rouch: it was to be about his beginning in filmmaking after WWII, but in fact, it gave him the opportunity to really finish his first film, as he said himself. Although it was very successful, the ARTE cultural channel didn’t pursue the project. Nevertheless, I realized another film with Jonas Mekas (Visiting Jonas Mekas), but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the result and I changed the editing entirely in 1999: it became a diary, Celebrations, where the focus is more on me, my wife and the Gulf War than on Mekas.
In 1994, I made another attempt to produce a series - not of television programs but of Lumière Shots - to mark the centenary of the invention of the cinematograph. The result was only 17 one-minute shots by Robert Kramer, 1 by Chris Marker, 2 by Guy Olivier and 5 by me.
Rouch and Mekas both filmed a play in one « take » as if they were witnessing an event or a ritual in real life and wanted to seize it as it happened, with no cuts. I followed their example with Copi’s chef d’oeuvre, The Homosexual or the Difficulty of Self-expression, directed and staged without concessions by Philippe Adrien. The play belongs to the same period, that is, to the violent, and politically engaged THEATER of the sixties. I filmed several other plays in the same way (one single-shot or two if the play lasted more than an hour). I haven’t remastered them. But I did keep the make-up and warming up session previous to the performance of another Copi play: The 4 Twins. I called it Les 4 Jumelles se font belles (The 4 Twins put on their faces).
Two days after the beginning of the second Intifada, I decided to go to PALESTINE.
I first made Palestine Palestine (2001), First Prize of the Sucre Human Rights festival, then Palestine Remembered, Grand Prize of the « Traces de Vies » festival 2004, and thirty odd sketches and stories that I’ve regrouped, with The Dream of the Blue Circus, under the title New Travels in Great Garabagne (2018). You can also see the three parts of this film separately under the titles: Inside the Wall, Ordinary Stories and Rainless rain. With the same material, I also realized an installation on 12 monitors, Occupied Territories, that was shown in several countries, in galeries and biennials - an installation on a single screen, The Endless Wall (often shown with Occupied Territories) and an installation on three screens, Out of the Past. Finally, I filmed a song of the Refuggee Rappers of Dheisheh camp: Money.
On American ELECTION DAY 2004, I was having lunch with Jonas Mekas in New York. The way he was eating his lobster made me think of Koulechov’s famous experiment and inspired the short film
Election Day. Four years later I was again in New York on Election Day. I had the more obvious idea of filming the result of the election in Harlem. The film was first called Obama Song and then, when the hopes of that autumn night had faded, I renamed it Dreaming on 125th Street.