For Jacques Loiseleux

By Pierre-William Glenn, AFC

par Pierre-William Glenn La Lettre AFC n°241

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It is with deep sadness that we received news of the passing of our colleague, director of photography Jacques Loiseleux, AFC, on Monday, 17 March 2014. A founding member of our association and one of its pillars, one of its souls, Jacques served as its General Secretary for over ten years and was one of its Vice-Presidents. He was eighty-one years old.

I met Jacques whilst acting in a television series produced by Telfrance in 1967, in which I played the role of the leader of a motorcycle gang. The name of this series was portentious : Les Oiseaux rares (The Rare Birds). The Director of Photography immediately hit it off with the young idiot that I was at the time, leading a group of future world championship racers, blithely ignoring speed limits and elementary security precautions, and many of whom have since died because of their passion.

Jacques had a really hard time calming us down in order to film us in the “order” of the screenplay and staging. From the harmony between actor-and DoP and from his kindly gaze was born a friendship that has never since faltered.
Jacques went on to suffer from the blacklists that were drawn up at the time against hard-core activist unionizer in 1968 and I was happy to be able to help him after a difficult period of unemployment by getting him to work alongside me as a cameraman on Un aller simple, directed by José Giovanni, the first feature film I ever participated in in 1971, and which today wouldn’t be considered to be a “film du milieu”.

Jacques was highly attached to his family and to his wife, and would really annoy me and focus puller Alain Corneau when we were shooting in Anvers that neither god nor man could stop him from returning to Paris on weekends to see Monique. I had the pleasure of filming both his daughters in 1971 with Gérard Desarthe, in La Marelle (Hopscotch), one of my first shorts, and he came to play hopscotch with me on set… The values of fraternity, mutual exchange, and cooperation never ceased between us and I am happy to have been able to see him very shortly before his death in order to offer to take his place at the Cuba Cinema School, where he was the absolute reference.
I was able to help him to work on movies by asking him to take my place when I wasn’t available. I don’t know if it was actually a gift or not, but he replaced me on Loulou and began a long, unrewarding professional relationship with Maurice Pialat. In 1989, thanks to his long experience in the non-profit sector, he presented the still-current by-laws of the AFC to me and Alain Derobe. Our association owes him almost everything, his regular attendance, his involvement in all its activities (the Micro Salon grew out of a more informal meeting where we used to discuss our working methods, introduce our teams, and talk about our equipment, homemade solutions, and directors…)

Jacques impeccably embodied the “fraternity” that we today too-often forget in the motto of the French Republic (and even sometimes at the AFC). We are rivals in the job “market” but “fraternity” should always be there, and, as he used to say, it isn’t always. Generosity, willingness to listen, dedication, and curiosity were his essential qualities.
Jacques leaves behind a beautiful family, an exceptionally selfless and courageous wife, and three lovely children who have all inherited their father’s desire to distinguish between succeeding in life and succeeding at life. I only hope that faced with the threat of extinction of rare species, our “rare bird” will remain in our memories and in our hearts as the incarnation of a fragile yet sturdy type of man that should be treated as an endangered species and be defended against all the wild predators that are currently at large.

(On the top of this article, Jacques Loiseleux in 2007 - Photo Nelly Florès)