Rousseau’s first full-length feature, and one of the best documentaries/experimental films of the past few decades, sprung equally from Robert Bresson, Michael Snow, and Jean-Marie Straub (who has called Rousseau one of the three best working artists in modern Europe). Again hard places played against drifting sounds from unseen sites beyond the image; the images and sounds, repeated, become inflections of each other. But this time there are historical inflections; Rousseau’s film, like Straub’s, takes place in a sort of meta-history as characters and ancient sites each become products of outside light and shadow. Read More »
Short film commissioned by the Cinemathèque Suisse to celebrate Jean-Marie Straub’s 85th birthday. Directed by Jean-Claude Rousseau.
Jean-Claude Rousseau is a filmmaker who believes in the natural power of images. The rigid compositions create something like a pure state, which constantly changes during the period of its viewing – like an empty and simultaneously detail-packed field. During this period the viewer is challenged to find and occupy his own position, to find his perspective in a similar way the filmmaker has found his in several places. Festival combines places the artist has visited during the last few years. Jean-Claude Rousseau’s films not only make beautiful discoveries, they are beautiful discoveries. Read More »
My films are like that: in a room, but looking out onto an open sky. I can’t really say it except to repeat that Bresson note, ‘that without a thing changing, everything is different.’ The film exists. The fiction is set up, and we believe in it. The justness of the agreement leads us to believe it, because everything plays equally at being a sign. That’s the arrangement of the elements. It’s an act of faith. La vallée close is just this: elements treated above all as if in a documentary that, without being changed, portray the story and reveal between them the elements of fiction. But above all seen as they are, insignificant. And then in the relations they set up, they can satisfy our desire for a story. – Jean-Claude Rousseau Read More »