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A propos de Nice

Black humour and technical feats in this “statement” on Nice where Jean Vigo plays on the violent contrast between the wealthy men and women of leisure and the poor population of the old town. Surprising a character to reveal his/her inner beauty or ridiculousness, giving a bizarre touch to an ordinary situation by including slapstick fiction scenes: this is what makes this social satire great cinema. 

 Jean Vigo distinguishes here between the “social documentary and the documented viewpoint”. The latter requires a position to be taken as “while it does not commit the artist, it at least commits the man”. Based on clichés on Nice (the carnival, the luxury hotels, the casinos, the tourists), he reveals to us the hidden face of the city in a social polemic where scenes are set: an image overlay showing bare feet that are shoe-shined, a woman suddenly naked in her armchair… Beyond the exercise in style, the use of cinematographic techniques (camera angles, slow motion/fast motion, series of crossfades, fast-cutting) is ideal for this work bursting with anger and love, lyricism and truth. 

Source : Saida S.

Vigo, Jean

Jean Vigo, (born April 26, 1905, Paris, France—died Oct. 5, 1934, Paris), French film director whose blending of lyricism with realism and Surrealism, the whole underlined with a cynical, anarchic approach to life, distinguished him as an original talent. Although he completed only three feature films and one short, Taris (1931), before his early death, his films produced great public reaction. A Jean Vigo Prize is awarded each year in France in memory of the filmmaker whose work is characterized by “independence of spirit and quality of directing.”

Vigo’s father, Miguel Almereyda, a militant French anarchist, died in a prison cell in 1917. Vigo spent an unhappy and sickly childhood being shuffled about between relatives and boarding schools. He suffered from tuberculosis and finally settled in the warm climate of Nice, where he directed his first film, À propos de Nice, a satiric social documentary, in 1930. Vigo moved to Paris shortly thereafter and directed Zéro de conduite (1933; Zero for Conduct), which was branded as “anti-French” by the censors, removed from the theatres after only a few months, and was not shown again in France until 1945. The moving story, set in a boy’s boarding school, explores the question of freedom versus authority and probably contains elements of Vigo’s own unhappy childhood. L’Atalante (1934), a masterpiece, directed a slashing attack on the essence of the French bourgeoisie and had to be drastically edited by its producers who feared criticism from the public. Vigo’s death of leukemia at the age of 29 took from the French cinema one of its most promising talents.

Kaufman, Boris

KAUFMAN, BORIS (1906–1980), motion picture  cameraman. Kaufman was born in Bialystok, Poland. He immigrated to  France in 1927, where he became the cameraman on all of Jean Vigo's  films, such as L'Atalante (1934), as well as those of other  French directors. After serving in the French army, he went to New York  in 1942. He worked for American war propaganda productions and became  one of America's foremost cameramen. Renowned for his exquisite  black-and-white photography, Kaufman won an Academy Award and a Golden  Globe in 1955 for Best Black/White Cinematography for On the Waterfront. Other films he worked on include Baby Doll (Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, 1956), Twelve Angry Men (1957), The Fugitive Kind (1959), Splendor in the Grass (1961), Long Day's Journey into Night (1962), The Pawnbroker (1964), The World of Henry Orient (1964), The Group (1966), Bye Bye Braverman (1968), The Brotherhood (1969), and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970).

Kaufman was the brother of Soviet directors Dziga Vertov (1896–1954) and Mikhail Kaufman (1897–1980).

À propos de Nice

Artistic direction / Conception : Jean Vigo, Boris Kaufman

Other collaborations : Image : Boris Kaufman ; Montage : Jean Vigo

Duration : 24'

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