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In the Cinéma Club of Yann Gonzalez

Yann Gonzalez is a French director and critic. He started working as a film critic to earn a living before directing a series of short films: By the Kiss (2006), Entracte (2007), I Hate You Little Girls (2008), Les Astres noirs (2009), Nous ne serons plus jamais seuls (2012), Land of My Dreams (2012). His first feature You and the Night premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2013 and was praised for its innovative form and visual tone. He is currently preparing his second feature Knife + Heart, set in the world of ’70s gay pornography in Paris, starring Vanessa Paradis.

 

Yann Gonzalez shares with us five films he loves.

ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, Martin Scorsese, 1974

To start with, a unique film from Scorsese’s career, rediscovered recently, and a feminist melodrama with constant emotion. The humanity that transpires within the slightest exchange, the slightest look between actors (a beautiful group led by Ellen Burstyn) can almost be seen as vestiges from another time – contemporary cinema having lost (momentarily?) this sort of innate grace, the pleasure of acting, of crying and living in front of a camera. Today’s “naturalism” seems quite faded when one sees a film of this moral fiber.

INSIANG, Lino Brocka, 1976

Another melodrama, of a completely different genre. An airport novel plot and a mise en scène in which the bitterness transcends the twisted connections between a young innocent girl, her seductress mother and the men. All is blood and cruelty, absolute misery and decadent eroticism. The kind of meeting between outsider art, Fassbinder and Z movie that makes you want to dive into Brocka’s insane filmography.

FINGERED, Richard Kern, 1986

Lydia Lunch works from home for a sex chat line before a client shows up and takes her on a trashy and deadly run. The subversive beauty of the actress/musician/poetess, with unparalleled sexual intensity, finds its equal in Kern’s feverish mise en scène. A punk manifesto in grainy black and white 16mm, the equivalent of a violent ejaculation thrown at the world and at cinema. Utmost freedom. Eternal respect.

ALLURES, Jordan Belson, 1961

If there’s life after death, let’s hope it looks like these 8 minutes of pure plastic effervescence & cosmic softness during which Belson takes us on a tour into the core of a far away galaxy, like a celestial voyage. Smoking a bit before is a plus for a total immersion.

MIDORI, Hiroshi Harada, 1992

A dark and unknown masterpiece of animated cinema: the adventures of a little girl taken in by circus freaks who make her suffer the worst atrocities – until our young heroine falls madly in love with the dwarf of the troupe. Its inventiveness is both incredibly visual and poetic, and Midori imprints its barbaric and desperate mark on your soul for a long time after seeing it. The nightmarish counterpart to Miyazaki’s films.