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Jacques Rozier
Introduced by

Jacques Rozier


Sunday 25/06/2017


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

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.

Hervé Pichard

Cast and Credits

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.


Film Notes

While filming the making of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt in 1963, Jacques Rozier also shot two complementary short films, Paparazzi and Bardot-Godard. Le Parti des choses. In the latter work he takes a more serious look at the creative act, revealing the daily tasks of the technicians, the movements of the actors, the director’s point of view… In short, the film depicts the randomness of the shooting process, frequently determined by unforeseen events.

Bardot and Piccoli, who play the estranged couple, sensitive and fragile, take their positions. The scene directors are busy and the sound and image technicians coordinate between each other. The clapper loader announces action and Godard directs Fritz Lang with reverential fear: “the old Indian chief”, “the spokesman of the Gods”, “he who scrutinises men” says the voiceover, that voice, which for all the film seems to transmit the common thought of both Godard and Rozier. Jacques Rozier, visibly fascinated by Fritz Lang and Brigitte Bardot, is also fascinated by his friend Jean-Luc Godard. With his camera, he follows Godard’s camera: this time he is the ‘paparazzo’, hunting down the movie camera. Thanks to the Mitchell Camera and the Technicolor equipment, Jean-Luc Godard will sublimate Brigitte Bardot, and the comment makes it clear that “from the very beginning, until the last breath, every Jean-Luc Godard film is a truth document devoted to modern woman: illogical, disarming, capricious, exasperating, regal, mysterious”.

If the random component is not alien to cinema, and in any case is neither foreign to the cinema of Godard nor that of Rozier, it is because their films constantly feed on a reflection of modernity and on the necessity to imagine the world and our representation of it in a different way.

Jacques Rozier takes advantage of the situation to redefine cinema, thanks to the presence of Godard, Bardot and Lang, three exceptional figures that find themselves together on a sun-drenched Mediterranean set. The short Bardot Godard. Le parti des choses is a malicious mirror of Jacques Rozier’s thoughts; in some ways it is his description of modern woman: illogical, disarming, mysterious and regal.

Hervé Pichard

The pleasure of travel and holidays, the reoccurring theme of water and islands, the poignant sense of time, the inclination for popular genres and actors, the hybridisation of documentary and fiction, the supremely artistic improvisations and sublime inversions indelibly mark this style of cinema, which evokes like none other the sensation, at once both joyous and melancholic, of the grace of existence and the fragility of the instant. Paradoxically, nothing is more in tune with the world, or nothing is more visionary than such an insular cinema, which manages to grasp the essential by proceeding in a zigzag manner

Jacques Mandelbaum, “Le Monde”, 1° settembre 2001

Cast and Credits

T. alt.: Bardot et Godard. F.: Maurice Perrimond. M.: Jacques Rozier, Jean Collet. Mus.: Antoine Duhamel. Int.: Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang. Prod.: Argos Films. DCP. D.: 8’. Bn.