Sécan ciel, 1979, Jean-Michel Bouhours

A Long Cinema in the Early Years? Reflections on the Relationship between the Avant-Garde in 1970s France and Early Cinema

Lecture by Christian Lebrat und Prosper Hillairet & Films

Intermittences non régulées d'Étienne-Jules Marey Jean-Michel Bouhours. FR, 1978, 16mm, b/w, 14 min
Sécan ciel Jean-Michel Bouhours. FR, 1979, 16mm, color, 4 min
Autoportrait au dispositif Christian Lebrat. FR, 1981, 16mm, color, 9 min (18 fps)
Trama Christian Lebrat. FR, 1978–80, 16mm, color, 12 min
D'Art moderne Dominique Willoughby. FR, 1977, 16mm, color, 9 min
La Petite Fille Pascal Auger. FR, 1978, 16mm, color, 9 min
Ultrarouge Infraviolet Guy Fihman. FR, 1974, 16mm, color, 31 min

In 1970s France, a group of filmmakers based around the distribution cooperative Paris Films Coop and the journal Melba (1976–1979) formed a new current which Christian Lebrat has labelled "post-structural cinema." They stood apart from their structuralist predecessors by defining film from the outset as a preexisting process that should be pushed to maximum intensity. Their cinema forgoes storytelling and continuously inscribes itself in each moment, like discrete machines operating via integration and fragmentation ("image-éclat" – image-burst). While the avant-garde movements of the 1920s with Germaine Dulac and her concept of motion or Jean Epstein and photogénie referenced the Lumière brothers, the French post-structuralist filmmakers wanted to re-invent cinema by going back to its origins: the first experiments with film by Étienne-Jules Marey and proto-cinematic devices (Zoetrope, 3D experiments). By experimenting in their films with fragmentation, repetition, multiplication and color, they managed to increase cinema's potential. (P.H./C.L.)

Lecture in English

Screening dates: