Thursday, April 14, 2011


Jean-Marie Straub said that Jean-Claude Rousseau, Peter Nestler, and Frans Van der Staak are the greatest filmmakers in Europe in these times.

From an interview by Cyril Neyrat in Lumen Journal

"What do I gaze at? At nothing describable, that one can observe and detail. To detail the shot would be to lose the image. I’m thinking of that beautiful preface to the book of geography, but which, as a passage, couldn’t be appropriated into the film. It’s a question of observation; the goal of the textbook is evidently to teach children and to stimulate their observation with the pictures. But to observe isn’t to be seized by the image. It’s to seize but not to be seized. The lengthiness of the shot corresponds to this gaze that doesn’t interpret, that doesn’t insist on a motive, but that is a pure vision, as we say, “to have visions.” This goes back to those disorienting moments where someone you’re with seems “out of it,” when his vision’s taken him somewhere else. And when you ask him, then, “what are you looking at?” it’s always the same reply: “nothing.” Suddenly he’s there again, as if the question had broken a charm. That’s what it is to see the image: it’s an absence."

" Let’s just say that very quickly I saw the promise of a film: I was watching the elements orient themselves, and without being able to say where it was leading, what I really wanted, it was clear that this current knew where it was going. It was simply a matter of following something that would sustain itself, that had its path, and that I only had to recognize and follow. These different vectors were converging at a single place and making the film itself this nexus: Petrarch, a geography book, a Giorgione painting, an erotic photo, an abandoned factory, the fountain at Vaucluse, and then inspiring correspondences between all these, as if validating them, the text by Lucretius on the movement of atoms, or more exactly, Bergson’s summary of it that he did in a book for philosophy students."

More about Jean-Claude Rousseau:

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