Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – JALALUDDIN Rumi
About “Lumiere et Compagnie”
As an arch longer than one century, film started to create its own language with a train entering the station. A silent camera with only a 52 seconds sequence shot started as an observer of an action. Two steps forward, it met the story/ narrative structure and it’s odyssey began expanding in every direction that the human mind could imagine.
The results metamorphosed into a form of art/communication, expressing personal ways of thinking/sensibility, opening a huge door for every culture/community to make known its own ideals/values, dealing with technology & the Lord of the day– money.
In 1995, celebrating the first century of film, forty film-makers were invited to make their own version of the Lumiere movie: one shot, 52 seconds long, no direct sound, using the same kind of 1895 camera. In other words same rules as in the beginning.
Directors are: Merzak Allouache, Theo Angelopoulos, Vicente Aranda, Gabriel Axel, J.J. Bigas Luna, John Boorman, Youssef Chahine, Alain Corneau, Costa-Gavras, Raymond Depardon, Jaco van Dormael, Francis Girod, Peter Greenaway, Lasse Hallstrom, Michael Haneke, Hugh Hudson, James Ivory, Gaston Kabor, Abbas Kiarostami, Cadric Klapisch, Andrei Konchalovsky, Patrice Leconte, Spike Lee, Claude Lelouch, David Lynch, Ismail Merchant, Claude Miller, Sarah Moon, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Arthur Penn, Lucian Pintilie, Jacques Rivette, Helma Sanders-Brahms, Jerry Schatzberg, Nadine Trintignant, Fernando Trueba, Liv Ullmann, Regis Wargnier, Wim Wenders, Yoshishige Yoshida, Yimou Zhang.
Some tough rules: be yourself & do it. Quite challenging for everyone.
What we are seeing in every 59 sec is the taste of what film is truly today.
Narrating the suspense – from searching for the “bad guy” through searching of the time & last years of the century;
building metaphors: from creating the inner connection between beautiful landscape & dead animal rawing on earth to tableau vivant of a beautiful naked woman breast feeding her baby on black field inseminated,
navigate through history – from Egypt pyramids to Louvre in a historical trajectory which might be interfering with the film’s own history, watching Sven Nykvist shooting with Lumiere’s camera and of course the arch-time joke – an old fashion dancer couple becoming an wild rock’n roll dancers on Chinese wall – do you taste the changing?!
Speaking about jokes there are plenty of them from an African country man scaring the film crew with a crocodile mask coming on the river to that sardonic crazy moment of gypsy people saved by an helicopter. The helicopter taking off to reveal a soccer stadium with few viewers applauding anemically…
Perpetual remembering – from Hiroshima’s kids message to never forget the past to people watching, walking, waiting, living – all over the world. And as stories consumers counting/surrounding the long cinematographic way to show the spectacular human touch a love kiss & underline its own explorer path, another film is showing the kiss as a completely human act… that charming kiss between two young people with Down syndrome.
From a father doubled by a director telling to his baby as film command: speak – speak to all the other directors giving indications.
From deconstructing whatever it is as cinema about cinema & observing the process of making of the movie, playing with the vice-versa theme – the characters of the movie acting back in observing the new intrusive object to Ulysses coming out from the sea & discovering the film camera as the human being discover what this tool does/creates.
What is missing? Well, what about the big chimpanzee tossing the camera in the air , catching it & using as the nut cracker- a new chapter of 1895 odyssey has already started its second century.
Lumiere & compagnie (1995) – documentary
based on an original idea by Philippe Poulet