INTERVIEW. “Jean-Pierre Mocky ended his career with a bang”, believes Christophe Bier

the important thing
The 2024 edition of Extrême cinéma welcomes the apostle of non-frequent art, Christophe Bier, for his carte blanche at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse, on Saturday February 17 and Sunday February 18. He will also sign his book “Obsession bis”, which brings together certain chronicles from the show “Mauvais Genre” on France Culture.

From the introduction to the book, you indicate that the nature of art is to evoke strong and unexpected emotions…

Art is not necessarily gentle or soothing. Annie Le Brun used the term “poetic violence” to illustrate the art that should force us to free ourselves from our shackles. In today's context where everything is formatted for commercial purposes, disturbing art is hard to accept. The fear of shocking leads to the censorship of certain artists, while the puritans who want to impose their views are louder than ever. Well, instead of requiring warning messages about alleged violence in a movie, for example, we should warn viewers that the movie isn't going to do anything to them. We would waste less time with warnings about movies that are too consensual.

How do you choose works or artists?

I'm talking about things I love and have known for a long time, but I'm not just highlighting my personal museum. I can also be struck by a surprising subject, like this work on petanque balls for example. The common denominator of all these topics is passion, whether it is conveyed by me or someone else through their works mentioned in my columns. It is my little pride to point out unknown things or invisible artists. I don't like the term marginal, it would mean that we have to define ourselves in relation to the norm and that is unpleasant. I prefer the underdog. I work for a small number of people and if it's hard to see a return on my columns, if I can reach a few people, that's something.

Your carte blanche offers Jean-Pierre Mocky's latest film, “All Cops! “. How was your relationship with the director?

Mocky was the first person I wanted to work with. I loved his baroque and grotesque side and his desire to discover the poetry behind those “faces” he filmed. He considered himself a director of journalists and this is not entirely incorrect because even if he is in one, his characters remain palpable. His cinematography also has that strange side that can make us laugh to tears with its approach to spaces so that they become unsettling. With “All the cops!” » Mocky ended his career with a bang. It got very little airplay and no one seemed to believe in this movie and that's why I favor it over his classics.

Your acting career exploded first of all with Bertrand Mandic with “The Wild Boys” or more recently “Conann”.

It is very pleasant to go on tour with him. He is one of the few directors today who is not afraid of actors, unlike some filmmakers who prefer technique or a clean image behind which the actor disappears. Although his characters have to be completely designed in accordance with the aesthetic he envisions, he allows himself the opportunity to be surprised during filming. It is a very sensual cinema, where the special effects are shot in real time as much as possible.

Dedication “Obsession Encore” Saturday, February 17 at 6 p.m. Carte blanche: “Ilsa, tigress of the gulag”, Saturday, February 17, at 7 pm and “All the policemen!” », Sunday February 18 at 2 pm at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse (69, rue du Taur). Such. 05 62 30 30 10 (www.lacinemathequedetoulouse.com).

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