Roberto Rossellini

F.: Néstor Almendros, Emmanuel Machuel, Jean César Chiabaut. M.: Véritable Silve, Colette Le Tallec, Dominique Faysse. Prod.: Jacques Grandclaude, la Communauté de Cinéma (Création 9 Information) con la partecipazione del Ministère des affaires étrangères. DCP. D.: 57’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

From the first to last shot, movement on the screen never stops, in Rossellini’s personal care. Because he is the person directing it or, more precisely, zooming in on it. A technical invention that made a wish of his come true – one that he had had since Roma città aperta: to capture on film the perennial, vibrating anxiety of life in constant tension with existence.
We would like existence to be entirely ours, possess it, imagine it, build it, own it, find a place in it, and since it has a duration, it is a duration, the longest one possible.
Because life is – and only is – uncertainty. It is not duration; it is merely a succession of moments that happen randomly. And it invites a continuum of perpetual co-nascence.
This is how Rossellini filmed Centre Pompidou. First, a backwards zoom/dolly zoom of Paris rooftops. Then, entering like an intruder in that building of tubes and steel that conspires (jure) – swearing (injurie), people dared to say at the time – with the mind and the body of the famous capital. The zoom movement determines the movement of the curious, amused and skeptical population that takes possession of the place, of its multiple spaces, again animated and enlivened by the playful zooming. We visit the Centre, we wander through it, so to speak, with a camera that is more like a neighbor than a companion, intent on discovering, capturing or ignoring with us fragments or moments of wisdom that are shown to us. We cannot yet speak of knowledge. Only of acknowledgment, meaning recognition. The moving eye instantly catches a sculpture, a painting, a ‘modernity’ while the camera follows the filmmaker’s usual moves. And it rises and is elevated. To revelation. Twofold. Knowledge encounters wisdom for nourishment. And – the last shot, the last backward zoom/dolly zoom – the Centre Pompidou becomes part of Paris, imbues it with the spirit of modernity, enlivens the soul of the city and its country.

Jean Douchet

Digitally transfered at Studio L’équipe, Bruxelles thanks to the support of Fondation Genesium