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Jacques Rozier, the last figure of the "real" New Wave


Highlights:'s John Sutter looks at how some of the world's most famous films were made. He asks how many people are involved in the making of the films. Sutter: "When Agnès Varda died, I thought: the real New Wave, we are only two" He asks: "As soon as I hear someone tell me that he has been a part of it, I want to tell him to keep it to himself" Sutter asks: How many people have been involved in making the films?

The filmmaker, supported by Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, has searched all his life for the most accurate image and inspired several French directors.

A filmmaker of the great outdoors and the open sea, Jacques Rozier, who has died at the age of 96, became, thanks to only a handful of films, a figure of the New Wave, admired by his peers and critics. He received the Jean Vigo Prize in 1986 for Maine Océan, the René Clair Prize in 1997 for his body of work, the Carrosse d'or 2002 in Cannes, he directed Adieu Philippine (1962), Du côté d'Orouët (1973) and Les Naufragés de l'île de la Tortue (1976).

Four films in more than half a century... He shot two others, Fifi martingale (2001), never released in theaters, and Le perroquet parisien (2007), which remained unfinished.

Anar with a tender heart, lover of side roads, director sometimes uncontrollable, sometimes as a dilettante, but also obsessive researcher of the right image, he has also shot about twenty short films, often noticed, and worked for television.

"The Real New Wave"

In 2019, Jean-Luc Godard (who has since died) hailed the trace left by Jacques Rozier in French cinema: "When Agnès Varda died, I thought: the real New Wave, we are only two. Me and (...) Jacques Rozier who started a little before me". The New Wave movement, born in the late 1950s, intended to break with classical cinematographic techniques in favor of experimentation and an individualistic, even iconoclastic approach. In addition to Jacques Rozier, its most emblematic figures are Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy and Éric Rohmer. "Of the filmmakers of the New Wave, Rozier is the one who rambles. The one who likes everything to go wrong, to better feed his very particular sense of dramaturgy (...)", greeted the Cinémathèque française at the announcement of his death.

He was born on November 10, 1926 in Paris. After graduating from IDHEC (the film school that became the Fémis) in 1947, he was Jean Renoir's assistant for French Cancan (1955), directed short films such as Paparazzi and Le Parti des choses (both in 1963) behind the scenes of the filming of Godard's Contempt. In 1962, he released his first feature film, Adieu Philippine. A bittersweet chronicle of French youth, against the backdrop of the Algerian war, it became one of the flagship films of the New Wave.

Cinema, a question of "risk and desire"

François Truffaut and Godard supported him. Yet it has little success. Same fate for the next film, eleven years later, Du côté d'Orouët, a story (filmed in 16 mm initially) of a middle-class family on vacation.

Jacques Rozier called on Pierre Richard, then a star of French cinema, to play in Les Naufragés de l'île de la Tortue. The film works a little better. We find his humor tinged with cynicism and a taste for dreamlike atmospheres. It tells the story of two employees of a travel agency who launch a new Robinson Crusoe tourism concept. In the end, it's a fiasco. Maine Ocean (1985) recounts the journey, or rather the pataphysical trip in the west of the France of wacky characters: a Brazilian singer, two train controllers (Bernard Menez and Luis Rego), a hysterical lawyer and an irascible sailor-fisherman.

Your films "have the false lightness, the freshness that is only found in the first films (...). All your films look like first films," said the young filmmaker Guillaume Brac in 2019 during a meeting organized by Télérama with the old master. "The French directors who follow in your footsteps, I am thinking of Sophie Letourneur, Justine Triet and myself, have in common to have written and shot their first film in a few weeks, with a rarely complete script, extremely limited funding. Conditions that go against the current norm where writing can take years," he added. To which Jacques Rozier, still lively despite his age, had replied: "As soon as I hear someone tell me that he has been refining his script for two years, I want to tell him to keep it for himself. Cinema is about risk and desire. Like love."

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-06-04

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