Scen., M.: Jacques Rozier. F.: Maurice Perrimond. Mus.: Antoine Duhamel. Int.: Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Piccoli, Fritz Lang, Jack Palance, Giorgia Moll (se stessi), Michel Piccoli, Jean Lescot et Davide Tonelli (voci narranti). Prod.: Films du Colisée. DCP. D.: 18’. Bn.
Jacques Rozier shot Paparazzi in 1963, in Capri, while Jean-Luc Godard was making Le Mépris. Godard had met Rozier in 1958 after discovering his film Blue Jeans. Since then Rozier had made Adieu Philippine (1962), and the friendship between the two men, together with their mutual involvement in the Nouvelle Vague, encouraged Rozier to put himself forward as the director of a ‘making of’ documentary. Le Mépris was a highly anticipated film. Two figures from opposing ends of the film world would join forces for this film: the biggest French star of the moment and the young cineaste of the Nouvelle Vague. Rozier noted how many photographers pursued the star – photographers known, ever since Fellini invented the term, as paparazzi, even though the term was still unknown in France at the time.
Beginning with the premise of a documentary reconstruction (the film opens with the meeting between Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Luc Godard in Capri), Rozier presents, without hesitation and in an original yet carefully planned manner, a series of shot-reverse shots, a conversation between B.B. and three paparazzi. The dynamic direction and editing give the film a modern, up-to-date feel. The soundtrack also plays a key role, with sounds and words overlapping freely and the music following the rhythm and frequency of the individual shots.
The sustained rhythm of the film follows the tensions between the paparazzi and the troupe. Rozier seems amused by this nervous atmosphere, to which he imparts the kind of inspired and playful tone that we find in the majority of his films. Like Renoir and Vigo, he is a free filmmaker. He observes insistently, with a detached but amused gaze, translating the world he gradually discovers around him into images through his own poetics and with the help of colourful and charismatic characters.