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Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun: A Touch of Grace

HD - 2015 - French - 90 min & 2 x 52 min - Color

Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun: A Touch of Grace

Le fabuleaux Elisabeth Vigée le Brun peintre de Marie- Antoinette (original title)


A film by Arnaud Xainte

« Between two centuries as at the confluence of two rivers». These words of Chateaubriand seem to be written for Louise-Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Born in 1755 and died in 1842, Louise-Elisabeth lived numerous and various periods of time, thanks to her exceptional longevity.

Official painter of Marie Antoinette, whose portrait she painted 30 times, she knew eight political systems, two revolutions, painted more than 660 portrayals, and received in her salon the whole political and artistic intelligentsia of the late 18th century until 1840. She fled the revolution in October 1789, for a 13 year long exile, going through Italia, Russia, Austria, England, and Switzerland. Everywhere, she was received by all the greatest courts of Europe and, besides posterity, was paid the highest fees of her time. The freedom of Louise Elisabeth, nonetheless an 18th century woman, echoes strongly with today’s women struggle, being the first French female painter to be recognized around the world.

The embodiment of the character by fiction appeared to us as the right choice obviously. Interviews of speakers are mixed with fictional scenes. These moments are an evocation of times and places when and where Louise Elisabeth lived, enlightening personal and historical events. In order to make the spectators feel the modernity of this character, the director used also some special effects: we zoom into the canvas so that we understand in a better way the meaning and the structure; engravings are animated; matte paintings remind us the poetry of the artist’s travels; several sequences mix fiction and painting.

EVL used fresh & bright colors and always painted her models in a graceful way, contrasting with the heavy settings usually employed at the time and the film pays homage to her unusual technique at the time.




The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975

DCP - HD - 2011 - Sweden, USA - 92 & 52 - Color / Black & White

The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975

The Black Power Mixtape (original title)


A film by Göran Hugo Olsson

The Black Power Mixtape is an archive- and music- driven documentary that examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the African-American community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975. Combining startlingly fresh and meaningful 16mm footage that had been lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for the past 30 years, with contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars, Mixtape looks at the people, society, culture and style that fuelled a change. Utilizing an innovative format that riffs on the popular 70s mixtape format, the Black Power Mixtape is a cinematic and musical journey into the ghettos of America. At the end of the Sixties, Swedish interest in the US Civil Rights Movement and the US anti-war movement peaked. With a combination of commitment and naiveté, Swedish filmmakers traveled across the Atlantic to explore the Black Power Movement. Filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson brings this newly discovered footage to light and introduces it to a new generation across the world in a penetrating examination – through the lens of Swedish filmmakers – of the Black Power Movement from 1967-1975, and its worldwide resonance.




In Search of Josephine

HD - 2012 - French - 2x52' - Color

In Search of Josephine

A la recherche de Josephine (original title)


A film by Eric Elléna

This two-part documentary series revisits the life of an incredibly modern woman from her childhood spent in the island of Martinique, to her coronation as an Empress at age 41, and finally to her death – from a simple cold – ten years later in her palace, Malmaison. We find ourselves retracing her steps in France and Italy and discover a character much more complex and interesting than what has been written about her by previous historians.

With the help of historical reenactments, paintings and illustrations, this revealing documentary series reconstructs the important moments of her extraordinary life. Having survived a devastating hurricane, a death sentence, firing cannons, a bombing and even a balcony fall, Josephine continues to fascinate millions of people worldwide, not only because she was wife to one of the most well-known characters in history, but also because the life she led – full of drama and grandeur – was greater than any role ever imagined in fiction.




Through Japanese Cinema

Beta Dig - 2012 - France - 2 x 55 min - Color

Through Japanese Cinema

Through Japanese Cinema (original title)


A film by Hubert Niogret

The exclusive domination of large corporations-production-distribution operation for over thirty years, and its collapse at the time of questioning global powers and the emergence of new styles and the conquest of new territories (animation) seemed to justify the cutting of a documentary on the recent history of Japanese cinema into two parts, corresponding to nearly equal lengths (20 to 30 years), and generations of filmmakers:
1. The cinema of protest and renewal, the emergence of independent after the Golden Age: careers with Nagisa Oshima, Yoshishige Yoshida, Shohei Imamura, Masaki Kobayashi ... the early 60s until the 90s.
2. The renewal of the images and the New Territories today: with the careers of Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, Otomo, director Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano, Hideo Nakata, Kiyoshi Kurosawa ... the late 90's to today.




King Hu

Beta Dig - 2012 - France - 48 min - Color

King Hu

King Hu (original title)


A film by Hubert Niogret

Bodies which float in the air and cross swords, a young woman jumping from a roof of a pagoda to another, a young woman jumping through a window and turning on wounded two attackers, a monk who with a wave of his big rod reverses its opponents, swordsmen who use the flexibility of large bamboo to bounce from one end to another of a forest. In an open or enclosed area of a tavern, the fighters of the films of King Hu, amaze, fascinate by their exploits, which are all forms of actions of dreamlike flights.




The Misfits of Cinema

HD - 2012 - France - 52 min - Color / Black & White

The Misfits of Cinema

Les Enfants Terribles du Cinema (original title)


A film by Ezéquiel Fernandez

How did a generation of post-war cinephiles manage to change the course of cinematic history?

In1948, ahandful of cinema enthusiast founded “Objectif49”, a “Cine-Club” in Paris whose existence would be as dazzling as it would be brief. A few months later, they came up with the idea of a showcase demonstration for art house films, thus giving birth, in the summer of 1949, to the “Festival du Film Maudit”. Jean Cocteau played the leading role in this effort with support from Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, Jean Charles Tacchella, Alexandre Astruc, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Pierre Kast…

Ten years before the official birth of the New Wave movement, these young filmmakers, inspired by a fresh, new artistic vision, laid the foundation for today’s cinema.

 

Pictures: Georges Dambier, Miguel Sanchez Martin (last picture hereunder)




Marvel 14: Super Heroes Vs. Censorship

HD - 2012 - Fra - 26 & 52 min - Color

Marvel 14: Super Heroes Vs. Censorship

Marvel 14 : Les Super Heros Contre la Censure (original title)


A film by Philippe Roure & Jean Depelley

“Marvel 14: super heroes vs. censorship” is a documentary that tells the tale of issue 14 of French comic book Marvel, who was censored and banned before publication. The Marvel comic books were at the time censored in France, being largely redrawn and cut for content. Both the left wing (American comics supposedly were symbols of the American imperialism) and the right wing (for the violent and immoral content) put pressure on the editors, even with death threats, to stop the mag. Issue 14 was not never released, but a few copy may have survived and it became an urban legend. The documentary also establishes the history of Marvel comics and widens to the censorship situation in the late 60s in France.




The Emperor’s lost harbor

HD - 2011 - France - 52 min - Color

The Emperor’s lost harbor

The Emperor's lost harbor (original title)


A film by Hannes Schuler

Istanbul, Turkey. A city between Europe and Asia. An old dream emerges: a tunnel under the Bosphorus, one of the most attended sea routes in the world. But while digging, the workmen discover more than 30 ships, filled with human goods, tools and skeletons. It quickly becomes obvious that they had found the old port of Theodosius I, the last emperor of Constantinople.

A surprising story emerging from a gigantic ultramodern building site; the discovery of one of the wonders of the world; a journey in the heart of one of the most attractive megalopolises of Antiquity and a high-risk navigation in the past.




The First Rasta

HD - 2010 - France - 85 min - Color / Black & White

The First Rasta

Le Premier Rasta (original title)


A film by Hélène Lee

At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893 – 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and travelled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard “Gong” Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community in 1939.

 

By recreating a backdrop of that time from film archives, police reports and newspaper articles, we follow in the wake of this adventurer and track the evolution of his thinking.  Through direct witnesses we trace his evolution, from his return home in 1932 to the first manifestations of his movement.  For the first time, these centenarian survivors describe a Rasta movement that is very different from the usual clichéd images. Their interviews, sparkling with humor and common sense, outline not only the silhouette of a great leader, but the daily struggle of a handful of men and women who stand without fear in the face of an all-powerful global system.  An example of incredible moral courage at a time when black people in America and Africa were still considered to be sub-human and were subjected to forced labor and racial discrimination. They paid the price for this bold stand through relentless persecution and through systematic misinformation bent on making them look crazy – but in the end they won.

 

Reggae is everywhere, and millions of young people identify with its message. The release of this documentary film marks the end of the silence and the reintegration of the Rastas in the great altermondialist movement of which they are the precursors.

 

Thereafter, a way of living and thinking was developed which nourished the reggae culture that Bob Marley would spread worldwide. Thirty years after the singer’s death, it is high time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell, The First Rasta, whose revolutionary, political and social discourse resonates with the altermondialist movement of today.