Jean-Claude Rousseau

In the 1960s Jean-Claude Rousseau (Paris, France, 1950) lived in New York, where he discovered Ozu’s films, as well as avant-garde cinema. On his return to France, he wrote a script: Le concert champêtre (published by Paris Experimental in 2000). The importance of this extraordinary text has been highlighted by colleagues such as Jean-Marie Straub and Marcel Hanoun.

In 1983 Rousseau made his first film in Super 8, Jeune femme à sa fenêtre lisant une lettre, followed by Venise n’existe pas (1984). He filmed Keep in Touch in New York in 1987, while preparing a program of his films that would take place the following year. Written for his speech at New York University, his ‘Notes sur Jeune femme à sa fenêtre lisant une lettre et autres films’ is an essential text which quantifies his conception of cinema.

Both these early short films and his two full-length films in Super 8, Les antiquités de Rome (1989) and the movie that is considered his masterpiece, La vallée close (1995), were distributed in private until they could be transferred to 16 mm in the late 1990s. La vallée close, in particular, was transferred thanks to the support of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, who asked for it to be screened at the Cinémathèque française with his film Othon (1970). The film was subsequently shown in Locarno and was awarded the Grand Documentary Prize at the Festival of Belfort.

In 2002 he presented his first short film in digital video, Lettre à Roberto. Since then, all his (highly prolific) work has been made in digital format. In 2006 he completed his first full-length video film, Trois fois rien, and the following year his new full-length movie, De son appartement, won the Grand Prize at the International Competition of the International Festival of Documentary Cinema in Marseille.

In successive years, Rousseau made the full-length film Festival (2010) and numerous short films which he presented at festivals (including Vienna, DocLisboa, Toronto and Marseille). In 2014 he was invited to Japan, where he made Arrière-saison and Si loin, si proche, his first two films in 16:9 HD size.

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