ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN HERE: THE FILMS OF JEAN-ANDRÉ FIESCHI
May 3 – May 6
“But not far away at the Trianon, and almost by accident, we saw a western in which, during a saloon scene, drops of blood trickled from the ceiling into a glass of beer. It was a revelation.” –Jean-André Fieschi, Z AUX OISEAUX
Jean-André Fieschi worked the angles and edges of cinema for over forty years, patiently elaborating texts and films driven by the mad pull of discovery and an intense respect for secrets. Like many in France, he came to the movies through writing. With colleagues like Jacques Rivette, Jean Narboni, Jean-Louis Comolli, and Jean-Pierre Biesse, he was instrumental to CAHIERS DU CINÉMA’s aesthetic shift towards the New Cinemas of the mid-sixties, and went on to produce some of the best pieces we have (see Roud’s CINEMA: A CRITICAL DICTIONARY for some of them) on directors he loved: Tati, Rouch, Buñuel, Straub and Huillet, Zucca, Eustache. His films run parallel to this critical sensibility, and combine its synthetic insights and its close attention to detail with an adroit and increasingly subtle sense of pacing. They are conspiratorial works, both warm and enigmatic, in which, within the grid of a clearly-defined subject, the length of each shot and the nature of the one that follows are impossible to predict. Like all great explorers, Fieschi created work whose beauty is tied to a sense of adventure, to the feeling that from moment to moment, as Gene Tierney said in THE SHANGHAI GESTURE, anything could happen here. It can, and it does: you’ll see Rohmer disco dancing, Nerval’s grave, Pasolini turned down by the crew after murmuring cut, camels wandering over the Kennedy Bridge in Niamey, Niger. In each case, these small epiphanies are the basis for a connection, a relationship, even a kind of solidarity with the world, and with its ghosts.
Anthology Film Archives is proud to present the first American retrospective of films Fieschi made and defended, in honor of an inspirational figure who arrived at exactly the right time and left us far too soon.
Introduction and film descriptions by series curator Sam Di Iorio (Hunter College). Presented with the invaluable support of the French Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Special thanks to Marthe & Simon Fieschi; Françoise Risterucci; Bernard Eisenschitz; Delphine Selles-Alvarez, Muriel Guidoni, Sonia Droulhiole, and Simon Bruneel (Cultural Services of the French Embassy); Robert Cargni (International House); Hwa-Seon Choi (Doc & Film International); Jay Schwartz; Nicole Beth Wallenbrock; and Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA).