Trajectoire06 Oct 2021
The event is over
For the 23rd edition of the Festival of Different and Experimental Films, the Centre Pompidou joins with the Young Cinema Collective (CJC) for a session in homage to Pierre Bressan. Pierre Bressan (1956-2011) was a filmmaker from Nancy whose meteoric career has been unjustly forgotten. His last film, Nuits Blanches (1981) shared a prize with Leos Carax's first film at the Clermont Ferrand festival. While a programmer for the legendary Underground Festival of University Film (FUFU), he produced a particularly coherent body of film between 1976 and 1985, consisting of ten films.
Although his work is most singular, it is situated at the intersection of several movements in experimental and narrative film: body film, baroque film, and a certain taste for costumes and ambiences inherited from Hammer Films. Having been carefully preserved in his sister's cellar for more than thirty years, his films have recently been rediscovered.
"A very discreet character, a sombre dandy, in the course of his films Pierre Bressan built up an extremely coherent, very noir, even Gothic universe where he gave free rein to his taste for stoical Schroterian poses, empty and strangely lit rooms, black suits, suspended time, under-exposed, and Nancy-ish lights. Although his work is very individual, it could be compared to other films from the period, whether adaptations of Poe by Roger Corman, films by the aforementioned École du Corps or cinéma de la pose: Philippe Garel, Yvan Lagrange, Denis Develoux and Patrice Énard.
We wanted our programme to be chronological because Pierre Bressan's films are suited to that order: his world is peopled little by little, is perfected, details emerge. We will go as far as La Dame aux Camélias, his first truly fictional foray, made after he presented a literature dissertation on Alexandre Dumas, fils. Next, he made Nuits blanches, which will not be projected during this session, a strange experimental detective story unfolding in Nancy, in yellow tones, its technical mastery sometimes reminding us of a Hollywood B-film. It shared a prize with Leos Carax's first film at Clermont Ferrand.
After these films, Pierre Bressan continued to work in film, making an appearance in some short films, including Laetitia Masson's first film, produced by the GREC, where it is easy to see the influence of Bressan. Then he disappeared: first from Nancy, then from the world of experimental film. His films disappeared with him, well wrapped up, warm and dry in a cellar. When he died in 2011, his sister recovered the copies which, unusually for an experimental filmmaker, were perfectly organised and annotated.
It is difficult to know why he stopped making films so suddenly. There is nevertheless a theory: Pierre Bressan was one of those rare romantic filmmakers for whom filming was everything, and for whom each shoot was nerve-racking because it demanded a total investment, bordering on madness. Unlike filmmakers who make films on demand, or because the money is available, he was one of those who film only when the desire was red-hot and intense. And this fire rarely lasted very long: so he needed to stop, to rest, to withdraw his films from circulation, at least for a while. Ten years after he died, the time has come to bring them back to life."
Théo Deliyannis (extract from the catalogue of the Paris Festival of Different and Experimental film, 2021)
Pierre Bressan, Les Lamentations, 1977, film 16mm, colour, sound, 12 minutes
Pierre Bressan, Frauenzimmer, 1978, film 16mm, colour, sound, 17 minutes
Pierre Bressan (with Alain Krepper), Usual Gesture Drama, 1979, film 16mm, colour, sound, 6 minutes
Pierre Bressan, Maria Guadalupe Villalobos, 1979, film 16mm, colour, sound, 6 minutes
Pierre Bressan, La Dame aux Camélias, 1980, film 16mm, colour, sound, 30 minutes
Pierre Bressan, Midas, 1976, film 16mm (digitised), colour, sound, 5 minutes
Acknowledgements: Paris Festival of Different and Experimental film, Théo Deliyannis, Judith Naranjo Ribó, Alain Lithaud and Christine Bressan-Bleijenberg and Collectif Jeune Cinéma (Paris)
19h - 21h
Pierre Bressan, Les Lamentations, 1977, film 16mm, couleur, sonore, 12 minutes, détail (photogramme)
© Pierre Bressan © Collectif Jeune Cinéma, Paris