F.J. Ossang – Docteur Chance (1997)
Like Godard, Francois-Jacques Ossang seems beached by the outgoing tide of that century, creating works variously engaged with sifting and evaluating its legacy. The Festival’s guest of honour, Ossang is a fascinating figure deserving of far wider international recognition than he currently receives. A child of the punk generation, he is also a poet and novelist, as well as lead singer of the band Mesagero Killers Boys. The Different Directions mini-retrospective included one of his three features, Docteur Chance (1997), and three more recent shorts, all projected in 35mm at the Town Hall Theatre. He describes Docteur Chance as a ‘monument’ to the 20th century but, unlike Godard’s Histoire(s) in which the filmmaker presides over a ritual autopsy in a museum, Ossang insists on the necessity of a ‘live’ and thus more vulnerable state to experience the last century’s death-rush. His 20th century is the century of speed, of the machine, of the Futurists, Burroughs, cinema (especially silent cinema) and Rock’n’Roll. Of ‘no future’, where oblivion is precisely that and what is spent is spent. This is the source of his vulnerability when compared to the older Godard, who has entombed himself to examine the leavings of Time from a perspective almost outside its flow, a voice from Beyond whose body becomes the images it has witnessed. Ossang in Docteur Chance still requires a body moving in space for time to run out on, and, more importantly, to experience and even initiate speed. The breathless, fragmented road movie-thriller world of Docteur Chance, Ossang’s only colour film, is a South America of the mind where the viewer always feels a step behind the action. Myriad cultural references come in to play, giving the hero’s flight the scope of a century- Georg Trakl sells potions from his chemical laboratory, William Burrough’s guiding voice issues from aeroplane radios, and the mysterious missing comrade at the end of the quest could only be played by Joe Strummer. It’s as if Ruiz had decided to make a Peckinpah film.
1.16GB | 1h 35mn | 720×432 | avi
Language(s):French, occasional English & Italian