Nicole Brenez

Nicole Brenez

Teacher and curator
France
Voted in the critics poll

Voted for:

Adebar 1957 Peter Kubelka
Afrique 50 1950 René Vautier
Aguaespejo granadino 1955 José Val del Omar
Balle traversant une bulle de savon Lucien Bull
By the Bluest of Seas 1935 Boris Barnet/S. Mardanin
London 66'-67'- Pink Floyd 1967 Peter Whitehead
Nothing but the Hours 1926 Alberto Cavalcanti
Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle Raoul Peck
Timeless, Bottomless, Bad Movie 1998 Jang Sun-Woo
Two-Lane Blacktop 1971 Monte Hellman

Comments

We haven’t seen the 20th century’s most important films: German films of the extermination camps (even if their shooting was officially forbidden); Soviet films of the gulag (Solzhenitsyn thought they were never made); Chinese films about the camps, which Wang Bing is finally beginning to shoot; scientific films about the splitting of the atom; films about those workers who, at the very end of the 19th century, never left the factory but were instead chopped up inside Chicago’s abattoirs. Thus, a provisional list that I dedicate to André Sauvage’s Dans la brousse annamite (1934), a film abominably mutilated by the industry, which is about a possible trace of paradise on earth. Alongside Balle traversant une bulle de savon I choose all the plates, strips and films by Thomas Edison, Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey, Lucien Bull and Georges Demeny; the scientific films by Docteur Comandon, Jean Painlevé, Maurice Françon, Alexis Martinet, Yves Berthier; all films that are in slow motion, beginning with Raymonde Carasco’s Gradiva; and all films less than a minute long that invented a new way to describe the world. Beside Nothing But the Hours I choose other films on the history of cinematic forms, which invented their own ways of deepening the images: Al Razutis’ Visual Essays, Ken Jacobs’ Tom Tom the Piper’s Son and all of Ken Jacob’s work, Kirk Tougas’s The Politics of Perception, Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma; the films of Dziga Vertov, the Dziga Vertov Group, the Cintéhique Group, Harun Farocki, Hartmut Bitomsky, Andrei Ujica, Carolee Schneeman, Rui Simoes, Michael Klier, Jayce Salloum, Thom Andersen, Tony Cokes, William E. Jones, Marc Tribe, Mauro Andrizzi… By the Bluest of Seas – and those films in which the sea shines, beginning with Jean Epstein’s Breton films (L’Or des mers, Finis Terrae, Mor’Vran...), moving through Stan Brakhage (A Child’s Garden & the Serious Sea), Gérard Courant (A propos de la Gréce), Ange Leccia & Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Ile de Beauté), Peter Hutton’s films; all the films that discover new ways of describing landscapes, such as those of Lumiére, Masao Adachi’s a.k.a Serial Killer, Jean-Marie Straub & Daniéle Huillet Too Early Too Late, Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks… Afrique 50 – and the counter-information and activist films by Joris Ivens, René Vautier, Chris Marker, the Newsreel, Cine-Giornali, Emile de Antonio, Edouard de Laurot, Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, Guillermo Escalon, the Groupe Medvedkine, Anand Patwardhan, Carole & Paul Roussopoulos, Lech Kowalski, John Gianvito and so many collectives all over the world; the re-enactment of images impossible to document, such as Herbert J. Biberman’s Salt of the Earth; plus all those that hurl their rage or their sorrow at exploitation (Les Maitres Fous by Jean Rouch, Vite by Daniel Pommereulle, Ali au pays des merveilles by Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy). Aguaespejo Granadino – and those films that invented their own tools and devices: Abel Gance, Michael Snow’s Wavelength, films by Karel Doing, Joost Rekveld, Jérôme Schlomoff, Jacques Perconte, all films made without a camera, without money but with genius, from Len Lye to David Matarasso by way of Maurice Lemaître, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Cécile Fontaine. Adebar – and the structural and metrical films by Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Malcolm Le Grice, Peter Gidal, Mike Dunford, Wilhelm and Birgit Hein, Peter Tscherkassky, Siegfried Frufhauf etc; and all those films in which bodies are dancing shadows, from Emile Cohl and Georges Méliés to Lotte Reiniger, from Gjon Mili to John Woo (in his Hong Kong period), from C.T Dreyer’s Vampyr to Ronald Nameth or Patrice Kirchhofer. London 66’-67’ – and all those films whose makers are also musicians and poets (Jonas Mekas, Ana Hatherly, Maurisio Kagel, Pierre Clémenti, F.J. Ossang, Marc & Eric Hurtado); those whose auteurs do the music themselves (Selva by Maria Klonaris); and those created on the basis of a song or piece of music (such as Alberto Cavalcanti’s P’tite Lilie, Dimitri Kirsanov’s The Cradle, Anthony’s Stern’s San Francisco). Two Lane Blacktop – and all those films that create their own world in the name of amour fou, by Buster Keaton, Tod Browning, Jean Vigo, Robert Bresson, Marcel Hanoun, John Cassavetes, Chantal Akerman; Jacques Rivette’s eponymous contribution; Pakeezah by Kamal Amrohi; Green Snake by Tsui Hark; Tabu by Nagisa Oshima; plus those by Peter Emanuel Goldman, Jean Eustache, Philippe Garrel, Christian Boltanski, R.W. Fassbinder, P.P. Pasolini, Philippe Grandrieux, Abel Ferrara, Patricia Mazuy, Virginie Despentes et Coralie Trinh-Ti, Jia Zhang Ke, Larry Clark, Gus Van Sant, Vincent Gallo. Timeless, Bottomless, Bad Movie – and those films exploding and reassembling the cinematic forms with such energy that they remain unique, seeming fireworks of the real, such as those by Teinosuke Kinugasa, Luis Buñuel, Jean Vigo, Mario Peixoto, Santiago Alvarez, Peter Watkins, Lionel Soukaz, Toshio Matsumoto, Masanori Oe, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Jia Zhang-ke, Cheick Oumar Sissoko. Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle – and those films that are not about war but are rather themselves at war, trying to become tools and instructions for fighters: S.M. Eisenstein’s The Strike, Holger Meins’ Cocktail Molotov, Masao Adachi’s The Red Army/FPLP, Declaration of World War, Jean-François Richet’s Ma 6-T va crack-er, Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale; those films that were not made by ‘professional’ filmmakers but rather by citizens, such as October in Paris by Jacques Panijel (1962) or Douglas Bravo by George-Henri Mattei (Venezuela, 1970). Translated by Adrian Martin and Brad Stevens.