Ashes to Ashes

Not the biblical verse but the Bowie's famous song.I was 11 when I heard the song for the first time, when I saw it should I say, because the video was as striking as the music and the lyrics.I think it is fair to divide my life into two parts: pre-Ashes and post-Ashes. He's the best, that's all....

The Belly of an Architect

My first contact with Peter Greenaway's universe was in 1982, when his second film, The Draughtsman's  Contract (strangely translated in France as Meurtre dans un jardin anglais), was released.The French cinema was still  partly under the shadow of the Nouvelle vague, and we had then very few occasions to see British films - mostly those from Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, spokespersons for social issues.On the opposite...

Close-Up

One of the ten “films of my life” (which could be 20, rather than 10). When this UFO appeared in the cinematographic sky in 1990, European audiences had seen very few movies from the Middle East, among 2 other films directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Close-Up audaciously mixes fiction and documentary, before it became fashionable.In a bus, an "ordinary man" is mistaken for another, the famous director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. B...

Creature Comforts

This short and hilarious film in stop motion showed up in 1989 and immediately conquered the heart of audiences around the world. It didn't come out of the blue: the Aardman Animations studio, based in Bristol, had already produced some gold nuggets, but Nick Park's touch reacquainted this "old fashion" way to animate characters sculpted in clay, where the finger prints were deliberately visible. Later, Wallace...

Dark Water

 The energetic guitar's line of Dark Water, from Agent Fresco, flies with me each time I leave Iceland : that's the song I listen  to  during take-off (and Coming Home from Asgeir is the one I listen to during landing – I like rituals).Thanks to the profusion of shows organized by Airwaves, I saw this band several times. I especially remember when the singer climbed on the bar of the Slippbarinn to end an impressiv...

David Simon

I have very few chances of finding a match between my photos and the title of one of his series, but that’s not a reason to skip the central place taken by David Simon in the political landscape thanks to his books, analyses and TV series. Well known for The Wire, a huge portrait of the city of Baltimore, reviewed through failing institutions (the police, the justice system, schools, the local press and politicians) faced ...

Down By The Water

Down By The Water is the apotheosis  of PJ Harvey's second album, To Bring You My Love. If this major artist shares, with some others present in my own private Pantheon, the taste for risk, an endless inventiveness and the capacity to reinvent a new character on each album, in addition she has a specific way  to write with rage and crudity. I saw her on stage for the first time at the very beginning of her career ; she...

Emotional Landscapes

Björk of course, even if the official name of the song is Jóga. By the constant  evolution of her style, her taste for stage performance in an ever-new character, her insatiable curiosity for all kinds of art and her capacity to include them in her creation, she may be the closest musician to Bowie. The price to pay for such diversity is that not all periods are  equal, and I must admit the "techno" albums are not my c...

Fake Empire

The American band The National has definitely earned the award for holding my attention the longest. This is thanks to a unique song entitled Sorrow, and its use by Ragnar Kjartansson for the happening A Lot of Sorrow. For eight hours the band played the same song in front of a lucky audience at the MoMA PS1, in Brooklyn. It was in 2015 and I did not have the chance to see it at that time, but I discovered this incredible co...

The Great Escape

That is the kind of small miraculous blend that the French allow themselves to dare, at present. A young guy, previously a film director for advertising and music clips (for The Shoes and Lana Del Rey, no less), published in 2013, under the stage name Woodkid, The Golden Age, an album that features all excesses in lyricism and arrangements, with strings soaring and percussion waving, like in The Great Escape.  And there is...

Immortal

Immortal (as plural) is one of the last songs that Alain Bashung registered but did not publish on his last album, released a few months before he died in 2009. Written for him by Dominique A, another king of the French rock scene, the song is now available in both versions, two occasions to admire the precision of Dominique A’s songwriting.An art in which Bashung was a master of as well, with texts sometimes at the limit of...

Jellyfish

With Abbas Kiarostami and Aki Kaurismäki, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of these "K directors" who signed a major work of contemporary cinema. Raised by the Z series from Japanese studios, he's mostly haunted by unhappy ghosts, the end of the world and doors between levels of reality. Before Jellyfish  - アカルイミライ (teenagers developed a strange obsession for the fascinating animal, seen as a vague threat), Kurosawa signed ...

The Kurdish Wheatear

There is a small catch with this reference: the one on my picture is a Northern Wheatear, spotted in Greenland. But he has a Kurdish cousin, seen in France in 2015, strangely enough; and that small event was enough to Jean Rolin to embark the reader into a crazy investigation where show up all together… the ornithological collection of the British Museum, some British, Russian and German spies, the creator of James Bond and th...

Land before Time

If Joy Division have some inheritors, they probably live in Helsinki. Already well-known in Finland, The Holy blew the mind of the audience at the Airwaves festival in 2019. Two, unleashed drummers, a deep voice and a bassline sophisticated, just enough to light all this darkness. These "almost teens" (at least they look like it) play as if they were in a car, driving straight ahead and off the road against a tree: with ra...

Ma France

Jean Ferrat may be the first singer I ever heard (yes, even before Bowie) because he was my parent’s favorite. He became my favourite too, albeit temporally, before I discovered Bowie, before I entered my rebellious period, and because he was a damn good songwriter and singer.Later, I understood the real rebel opinion was to love Ferrat. He was politically committed, without ever losing his outspoken nature and his freedom o...

Marguerite Duras

 Worldly known, Marguerite Duras created her specific way to use the French language, structured on its own rules, playing with time, voices, reality and introspection.I understand that some people may be reluctant  to experience such an unusual language, but it sounds to my ears like the most beautiful music, besides the fact that her themes dive deeply into the human soul.I remember like a strong example of literature&...

Nanortalik

To be a French rock addict in the 60s, 70s, even 80s meant having a persistent wry neck, by looking above the English Channel. How could the binary tempo have crossed the Atlantic Ocean but never reached France?  To be honest we had had Téléphone -my very first concert- and Noir Désir, both excellent, The Stinky Toys for the punk, Etienne Daho for the pop and Marquis de Sade for the New Wave (the three of them from Rennes) and...

Once I Entered a Garden

Known in a too small circle of cinema lovers, Avi Mograbi, a Jewish Israeli, is one of the most audacious and iconoclastic film directors in a highly talented country.From his first movie as a director, called How I learned to overcome my fear and love Arik Sharon (he has a particular talent for titles), Mograbi tirelessly challenges political and social issues of his country, without ever masking his opinion but without in...

Other Lives But Mine

Carrère's books have often been adapted for the screen and the most known is probably L'Adversaire (The Adversary), account of the life of the murderer Jean-Claude Romand, who pretended to be a doctor his whole life and killed his entire family  to avoid being discovered. Like Jean Rolin or David Simon, Emmanuel Carrère draws his materials from real stories, sometimes from judiciary contexts. From the tsunami i...

Palombella Rossa

Not  really a bird but the metaphor of a bird, used to describe a certain technique in Water Polo. In this movie, dressed in red, it becomes a metaphor for the political situation in Italy in the late 80s. I have a strong and inexhaustible passion for Nanni Moretti's films, all of them, but this one still astonishes me by its high level of analysis and presaging of the situation in Italy today (the underestimated The C...

Perfect Blue

A little bit - and for sure unfairly - forgotten , the elegant and harmonious pop of Lloyd Cole (with or without the Commotions) enchanted the 80’s with bubbly and cool hits like Lost Weekend or Perfect Blue. In 2019, Cole came alone on stage for a farewell tour, with still same Scottish humour, the same modesty and self-derision, and the same velvet voice. Glasgow, Reykjavik’s twin city for musical skills!...

Prefab Sprout

 This is that kind of British band able to write a collection of perfect songs, just twisted enough to be listened to without limit of time nor repetition. Created in the  late 70s in Durham, close to Newcastle, Prefab Sprout met some success in the UK (you probably know Cars and Girls or When Love Breaks Down) but never really crossed the Channel, except for some staunch fans. Still in activity, they became rare in the 2000...

Reflektor

A few years ago, Les Inrocks, the French rock magazine that cradled my teenage years, had published  the headline “impressive Arcade Fire ''. Such an emphasis seemed a little bit exaggerated to me, then.Rock music (and music in general) provides many occasions to be enthusiastic and I have to say that  all that time I had no idea what I was missing.  Around ten years ago, I was lucky enough to see them on stage i...

Images protegées