Bruno Nuytten Retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française

In partnership with the AFC

La Lettre AFC n°295

[English] [français]

From 20 March to 3 April 2019, the Cinémathèque française is organizing, in partnership with the AFC, a retrospective dedicated to Bruno Nuytten, cinematographer and director, through a selection of 22 films out of the 30 or so feature-length films that he lit and for the most part also shot during a fifteen-year period. This selection is complemented by three short films that he shot in the early 70s and three of the films he directed (Camille Claudel, Albert Suffers and Jim, la nuit).

“A dream journey into the darkness of the films lit by Bruno Nuytten, including Bernard Blier’s Valseuse, Claude Berri’s Manon des sources, and others by Marguerite Duras, André Téchiné, Andrzej Zulawski, and so many others. This is the story of a man fascinated by darkness who explored the ballet of light and shadow throughout his cinematographic career. Darkness and night (la nuit) are, phonetically, part of his surname, Nuytten, and his given name, Bruno,” writes Bernard Payen on the website of the Cinémathèque française.

Two events will shed light on Bruno Nuytten’s career and work :
- “Dialogue with Bruno Nuytten and Alain Fleischer,” moderated by Bernard Benoliel – Thursday, 28 March at 19:30 – followed by the screening of Zoo zéro (Alain Fleischer, 1977).
- “Bruno Nuytten by Bruno Nuytten : a lesson in cinema,” moderated by Caroline Champetier, AFC, and Frédéric Bonnaud – Saturday 30 March at 14:30 – followed by the screening of Tchao Pantin (Claude Berri, 1983).

Lastly, Caroline Champetier’s documentary Nuytten/Film will be screened on Wednesday, 3 April at 19:00 – Session presented by Caroline Champetier.

“The work of Bruno Nuytten has always fascinated me. This film came about during the time I was a guest artist at the Fresnoy school for a year. Bruno is a very secretive person who sometimes flees like a wild animal… The form of the film took shape over time. The primary desire was to let Bruno be heard without representing his words. I decided to film him at home, while he was putting down wood flooring, in order to try and let his words come across over the camera.”

“It was rather miraculous, but the problem of the relationship between art and cinema artisanry found a synthesis at that moment. This is a movie about gestures. Bruno was at the very place and at the very moment in time where a huge upheaval was occurring in the way films are made. He felt it. He was no longer able to do as he was accustomed : spend as much time on set, create cross-fades at the camera, directly touch up a part of the image by drawing with a marker on a piece of glass placed in between the lens and the subject, or flash while filming as he so daringly did on Barocco, which are all reasons that forced him to take his distance. Losing that gestural freedom by entering into a digital world where “everything will be taken care of during editing” was impossible for him. There is a real mystery regarding the place where he situates the director.” (Caroline Champetier)

Bruno Nuytten Retrospective
20 March – 3 April
Cinémathèque française – Paris 12e

The image above shows Bruno Nuytten measuring the light on Yves Montand while shooting Manon des sources, in 1986.