Tribute to Maurice Pialat
AN ETHIC OF TRUTH
«It's constantly fighting against his own self and against others that he swept through his life and films, that he built an incomparable work of truth and human depth, where almost every single shot weighs tons of vital matter". This quote from Serge Kaganski is the best way to introduce us to the Pialat retrospective.
From L'amour existe (1961), his first short film, to Garçu (1995) his last film, Pialat built a coherent and strong work marked by unfailing constancy in the quest for truth. Extracting moments of truth in a fabricating machine of fakeness, making films to ward off the clinical death of an art that to him has gone wrong, eternally dissatisfied with his films and cinema. With Pialat the search for truth doesn't stem from an aesthetic posture but rather from an ethic of life. A misanthropist, quick-tempered on film sets, grumpy with the press, nourishing resentment towards his Nouvelle Vague colleagues who sailed to glory, leaving him stranded on the dock, Pialat suffered a lifetime of «bad» reputation that caused blindness in some regarding the power of his cinema. These overused clichés brandied by often malicious and hasty critics comforted Pialat in the marginality he chose for himself.
«A block of margin at the heart of French cinema» as Antoine de Baecque said in an article for Liberation.
At the antipodes of all academicism, what always imported to Pialat was the moment of truth that emerges from a sequence. It's this emotion that arises from the corner of a look, a gesture, an expression. Truth isn't planned; Pialat didn't care about work schedules that must be kept, about scripts to be worshipped nor perfect frames. There was no method for Pialat; filming was part of a human and existential experience elaborated by this constant will to transmit the authentic and make it felt, thus it was up to the device to comply with this ethos which was at the basis of the approach of the director.
Making a challenging cinema while meeting a wider audience (except from his last film The Garçu, all of Pialat's movies drew over a million viewers in France), that isn't the slightest of achievements of this great director who saw in his films «failures.»
115 - L’AMOUR EXISTE de - FRANCE ( 1961 )
116 - LOULOU de - FRANCE ( 1980 )
117 - A NOS AMOURS de - FRANCE ( 1983 )
118 - POLICE de - FRANCE ( 1985 )
119 - VAN GOGH de - FRANCE ( 1991 )