The visionary cinema of Pierre Clémenti

Love for bodies, intimacy revealed

We present a sample of the personal cinematographic work of Pierre Clémenti (better known as the actor in Luis Buñuel’s Belle de jour and films by Pasolini, Visconti, Bertolucci and Garrel): diaristic, countercultural, lysergic films. 

His work as an actor allowed Pierre Clémenti to buy a Beaulieu 16mm camera and embark on “a fabulous living adventure: FILMING”. With his plastic, chromatic and rhythmic montages of “stammers, glares, illuminations, revealed intimacy”, he loosed a romantic form into his imaginary from the viewpoint of an artistic, utopian counter-society.

In this session we screen three of his works. La révolution n’est qu’un début. Continuons le combat belongs to his first stage as a filmmaker, characterized by a psychedelic, carnal, hallucinated poetics set in the constellation of ‘68. Souvenirs souvenirs, recently discovered in the warehouses of the Centre Pompidou, comprises rushes from ten years ago; in this second period, the evocative beauty of the family album and the thread of memory intermingle life and work, in a “magic mirror of multiple visions”. Soleil is representative of his final phase; colder and anguished, it springs from his unfounded imprisonment in Italy for possession of drugs, in 1971.

The recovery and restoration of this body of film by Clémenti, who left numerous unfinished materials, reveals to us the fullness of a filmed autobiography made up of visionary experiences and political subversion based on the sensory. As Nicole Brenez points out, in his films Clémenti addresses collective protest against social censorship and private self-censorship, exposing “his life and his body in even the slightest folds of his pleasure and his suffering”.

La révolution n’est qu’un début. Continuons le combat, 1968, silent, 20’

Souvenirs souvenirs, 1967-1978, silent, 28’

Soleil, 1988, 16’

DCP screening, Catalan Subtitles. Copies courtesy of Cinémathèque française.

2 March 2023


The Auditorium
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