At the Cinéma du réel, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Godard’s discreet alter ego


“Poto and Cabengo” (1980), by Jean-Pierre Gorin.

Jean-Pierre Gorin fears the worst as always, for fifty years that the case is supposedly closed. We will still talk to him about Godard, their collaboration within the Dziga Vertov group from 1968, the dream of revolutionary cinema covered by this crazy enterprise, the flirtation with Maoism, the role of political mentor attributed to him, of the disappearance of Godard as an author, of the failure in the great breadth of this utopia, which the most ill-intentioned put on his shoulders alone. Like Anne Wiazemsky, wife of Godard, who already reproached him for forming a couple with her husband. He’s not entirely wrong. How not to talk about it again when he is passing through Paris from his distant America, at the invitation of Cinéma du réel, which is organizing a retrospective of his films until April 2 and gives him carte blanche. It is also that, at 79, Gorin is part of the last circle of co-actors in the Godardian gesture.

The beginnings are almost known. Born April 17, 1943 in Paris on the wrong date. Parents resistant and passionate about cinema. Doctor and Trotskyist militant father and mother of Russian Jewish origin. Studies at the Sorbonne, rapprochement with the Maoist circles of which he knows the main figures since La Khâgne. Came daily THE World to collaborate on the literary pages – he was quickly fired by Jacques Fauvet for his heterodox methods – he met Godard in 1967 during a dinner with his colleague Yvonne Baby, who wrote on cinema. Georges Sadoul, a great film historian, is present. Godard, close to communism since Male Female (1966), just repudiated his comrades “revisionists” and seeks on the side of Maoism a radicalism more likely to satisfy it. The young man of 25 and the filmmaker of 40 who dreams of overturning the table appreciate each other. They will never leave each other. Well yes, but later.

Fusion collaboration

Their collaboration will be intense, not to say fusional. The tandem forms a kind of intellectual machine that wants to rethink the grammar of cinema. In particular, it emerges The Chinese (1967), severely exhausted by these same Maoists whom Godard could not help but bury by paying homage to them, then, within the Dziga Vertov group – while the filmmaker has now given up signing his films –, A Film Like Any Other (1968), The East Wind (1969), Struggle in Italy (1969), Pravda (1970), british sounds (1970), Vladimir and Rosa (1971), Letter to Jane (1972). A rough crossing, crippled by a certain dogmatism, but rich in flashes and intended to edify almost no one since these films are not released in theaters.

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