Five faces or five profiles, perhaps it is better to say five outlooks that are presented here in this proposal to discuss meta-cinema on the personal side: when the filmmaker is filmed instead of doing the filming. Hunter hunted is the expression for this shot when the director of the film inadvertently creeps into the background of an image in a filming oversight. There are fetishists who collect them. Here, beyond the background and fetishism, the portraitists of these five figures are looking for them to be the close-up that reveals details that are blurred in the distance. We have before us five Polaroid photos of five film greats, five images are gradually revealed as they come out of the camera until the five faces are composed in film.
Why five? Why these five? It is our job as programmers to detect tendencies and the documentaries that are presented here are mainly works that have just been produced, like five works that together make up a recent family, with their similarities and differences. They coincide with other works from these years, such as a film portrait of David Lynch, another of Jonas Mekas or a posthumous one of Chantal Akerman… but unfortunately, not everything fits in our Rushmore rock of film and those present here make up a good set to study and debate on film and ways of making film.
How do you film a filmmaker? Is it enough to make a portrait using his own way of making film? Or will it be risky? Is being close, or in other words, so that the portraitist recognises him/herself or more distant an advantage or does it raise shortcomings? Do all of the films define their filmmakers? How is the photo album of someone who is normally on the other side of the camera organised?
All of these questions will be revealed in these five proposals of Hunter hunted, which does declare the common passion of these five maestros to tell stories through images. None of them can do without filming, and in this, they are unrepeatable and unique, five filmmakers of our times, five filmmakers whose story is told.
Iran, 2016, 76’
Premiered at the Venice Film Festival, two months after the death of the director of The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), probably the most influential filmmaker of our times, renovator of film forms put in contact with reality, in 76 minutes and 15 seconds with Abbas Kiarostami (2016) we find ourselves before a series of fragments of his life and work over several years, devoid of interviews not even in voice-over or declarations that back them up, forming an honest tribute with a background that is as spiritual and revealing as the films by the great Iranian maestro.
Portugal, 2016, 81’
A photograph is the starting point for this manifesto made through the deepest admiration for Manoel de Oliveira (1908-2015), the most important figure in the history of Portuguese film. Born in Oporto, he died at the age of 106, whereby the necessary creativity and lucidity to film never abandoned him, leaving behind a legacy that is probably unrepeatable. It is as if film kept him alive through a secret pact, his filmography crossed the 20th century and entered into the 21st century accompanied by a timeless breath of extraordinary modernity, whether adapting to the great writers of his country or reviewing the History of Portugal.
France, 2016, 63’
“Of the many men who I am, who we are, I can’t find a single one”. This quote, which opens a poem by Neruda, can serve us as a compass for Alejandra Rojo to enter the unfathomable and varying work of the Chilean filmmaker, Raoul Ruiz, who lived in France and died in 2011, having directed over a hundred films, many of which are lost and may others yet to be discovered. Raoul Ruiz, Drama Against Innocence, a title that calls upon his desire to get rid of the ties of narrative film and the rigid production schemes, highlights his name in French to point out his duplicity as a person and invites us to remove each of the layers of the director of Mysteries of Lisbon (2010), possibly hoping to find what defines him.
France, 2007, 125’
Portrait of Godard following Histoire(s) du cinema whilst preparing the Travel(s) in Utopia (2006) exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Centre. It is the culmination of successive reinventions, which began with his phase as a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s, and continued with his revolutionary fiction in the 1960s, his essays in the 1970s, his return to essay fiction in the 1980s, and the coronation of all his work with the Histoire(s) du cinéma project (1988-98). This documentary is an overview of a broader audiovisual project, lasting over nine hours, which extensively reflects Godard’s conversations with theorists and filmmakers like Jean Doucet, Jean-Michel Frodon, Dominique Païni, Anne-Marie Miéville, Straub and Huillet, Jean Narboni, André Labarthe or Nicole Brenez at the beginning of the century.
Jean-Marie Barbe, Arnaud Lambert
France, 2015, 146’
Posthumous portrait of Chris Marker (1921-2012), the elusive French filmmaker- essayist, traveller, photographer and cat-lover. Two filmmakers, Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert, propose a chronological journey through his thoughts and cinematographic work: from the cartography of new political utopia in the 1950s, from Siberia to La Habana, to its relentless defeat, starting with Chile; from his review of cinéma-verité (ciné / ma verité, in its translation) to the great television experience in L'Héritage de la chouette, which traces a journey through classical Greece, organised into twelve words.