Program
2021

21 June
Monday 21-06-2021
time 16:00
Evento Online

 pff2021 art isabella

a cura di Tommaso Isabella

PERCEPTION AND THE IMAGINARY – THE SCIENTIFIC SURREALISM OF ERIC DUVIVIER

Webinar and online screenings on Zoom with simultaneous translation. Comeback on this page to receive the partecipation link on the event day.

Curated by Tommaso Isabella.

This programme is the result of a survey of online medical and scientific film archives. Its focus is on Eric Duvivier, who was one of the most outstanding representatives of this field in France from the fifties to the eighties. Out of his vast output, I have selected the films of psychiatric interest, mostly commissioned by pharmaceutical companies like Sandoz or Delagrange.

The Duvivier case stands out in the context of industrial cinema in which he worked. These films, among the most eccentric and experimental works he made, in spite of the educational and promotional purposes show a marked authorial imprint that acts as a counterpoint to scientific authority in an original and stimulating way even within its vicarious role with respect to the institutional field of psychiatry. In fact, pursuing the goal of illustrating the (alleged) objectivity of its knowledge, the latter serves as a springboard to find original aesthetic solutions and thus try to render the individuals’ psychic experience. This oscillation between objectivity and subjectivity produces an unresolved and problematic tension between empathizing towards those who are suffering from mental health problems and their being treated as mere psychiatric cases.

What is striking about Duvivier’s films is to see the expressive grammar of avantgarde cinema at work for the sake of science. His style could be seen as Surrealism applied to scientific film, as long as we remember that it retains a twofold position with respect to the domain of the subconscious, split between exploring the latter in person and mapping it as an experience from outside. Duvivier’s artistic inspiration is also reflected in his constant attention to the relationship between creativity and mental disease as well as his interest in the artworks of psychiatric subjects.

In these films there is an underlying tension between the visible and the invisible, the same that more in general characterizes the relationship of cinema and science. This will serve to elaborate on the programme with further ramifications and focuses resorting to other materials available online.

All films are offered in the original French version less the last four, from the series Séméiologie psychiatrique, présentations de maladies, that are linked from YouTube with English subtitles. Dialogue transcriptions will be handed out for some films.

Images de la folie (1950, 16')
general manager: Éric Duvivier
director: Enrico Fulchignoni
advisors: Jean Delay, Henri Ey, Henri Bessière, M. Graulle
production: Films Art et Science
Shot on the occasion of an exhibition of “psychopathologic art” in the framework of the first world conference of psychiatry, the film avoids educational explanations in favour of a poetic exploration of the world of insanity.

Le monde du schizophrène (1961, 21')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Didier-Jacques Duché
production: Sciencefilm, Sandoz
The film’s purpose is to illustrate the experience of a schizophrenic subject, his visual and acoustic world, in objective and subjective terms.

Un délire hallucinatoire. Psychose systématique chronique (1961, 25')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Henry M. Gallot
production: Sciencefilm, Laboratoires Delagrange
The chronicle of a pathological case of delirium of persecution that follows in a narrative form how the subject sinks into hallucination in a crescendo of violence.

Images du monde visionnaire (1963, 34')
director: Éric Duvivier
author: Henri Michaux
scientific advisor: Jean Delay
production: Films Art et Science, Sandoz
The film attempts a visual rendition of the hallucinatory effects of mescaline and hashish departing from the personal experience of Henri Michaux, who was initially involved as author but then dissociated from the project.

Concerto mécanique pour la folie ou la folle mécamorphose (1963, 20')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Paul Sivadon
artistic collaboration: Erró (Guðmundur Guðmundsson)
production: Sciencefilm, Sandoz
Exempt from specific educational purposes, this film deals with the theme of alienation in a mechanized world and tries to translate symbolically its psychological consequences into a sort of futurist ballet, where the characters move about delirious decors.

Phobie d'impulsion (1967, 24')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Didier-Jacques Duché
production: Sciencefilm, Laboratoires Roche
Dedicated to phobia, the film illustrates terror of and obsession over an object or situation by way of a nocturnal fable that follows the intimate, but disturbing relationship of a young mother and her new-born baby.

La Femme 100 têtes (1967, 20')
director: Éric Duvivier
production: Sciencefilm, Sandoz
A loose adaptation of Max Ernst’s collage-novel La Femme 100 tetes (1929) that features tableaux vivants to faithfully reproduce the artist’s engravings in a not so faithful translation of a masterpiece of Surrealism.

Autoportrait d'un schizophrène (1977, 22')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Didier-Jacques Duché
production: Films Art et Science, Sandoz
Based on the diary of a schizophrenic subject – a role played by Pierre Clémenti – this is yet another attempt to ‘film’ pictures of a mental universe hung between the oneiric world and reality.

L'enfermement (1980, 15')
director: Éric Duvivier
scientific advisor: Patrick Lemoine
production: Intersciencefilm, Association Lyonnaise pour la recherche psychologique sur l'art et la créativité, Labortoires Delagrange, Servier, Specia e Squibb
This was shot for the exhibition “Figures de l’enfermement.” Works of contemporary artists are seen through the lens of detention and commented on by verses of Paul Eluard.

Séméiologie psychiatrique, présentations de malades [estratti da] (1971-1976)
scientific advisors: André Féline, Isabelle Ferrand, Bertrand Samuel-Lajeunesse
director: Éric Duvivier
Psychiatric interviews are recorded for educational purposes. The documentary, objective approach supersedes the attempts to represent subjectivity of the other films. However, it’s here that the subjects, in spite of the circumstances, actually take the floor.

Perspectives on curating online cinema

 by Gianmarco Torri

This section was conceived as an attempt to develop a critical reflection on what we have gone through over the past year.

Almost all of us have been obliged to live and work exclusively online. We have been watching countless screenings, meetings, virtual conferences, and all of us have realized how many resources are available on the world wide web.

Such materials have appeared as a consequence of a ‘year of living remotely’ and as a virtual substitute for conventional theatrical screening programmes in several cases, but some of them had already been accessible for years on the websites and channels of many archives, associations, museums, festivals, cultural projects, and film-makers.

Our goal is to try and understand how this year’s experience can influence our work as well as to respond positively to this historical moment, learning some useful lesson for the future.

None of us believes any longer in the relevance and necessity of an actual theatrical viewing experience. Over the past few years, the Pesaro Film Festival has tried to prove this with a section dedicated to Super8 that explored and presented not only ‘images,’ but also the materiality of films, along with film-makers with their own personality and corporeality, and screenings with their performative, experiential, and collective dimension.

However, we cannot overlook that which happened, and how it affected our perspectives, culture, and society.  We have possibly attained a better clarity of mind on what had already been going on for two decades now.

To meet this challenge over the long term, we have focused our reflection on those materials that are accessible online for free and permanently, which we think are those that can actually affect the traditional balance between access, curatorship, and film culture.

On a more utopian (not necessarily linked to pirating practices) level, these are materials that should effectively allow to overcome some hierarchic, geographic, economic, and cultural barriers as well as encourage to see the world wide web as something else than just another paying platform (something that has been little forgotten and scarcely practiced anyway).

Over the next few years, free-access streaming of images online is certainly not going to curb. On the contrary, expectations are that it continues to grow exponentially.

This immense territory actually offers those who operate in film culture an amount of assets that has never been so close at hand, and to a certain extent even snatched from the market logic and commercial operators. It deserves to be studied and upgraded in our consideration, instead of just deplored because it is supposed to belittle the movie-going experience, as though most of us – also based on the narrow cultural scope of conventional movie-theatre programming – had not already been discovering new works and shaping their own idea of film by way of the ‘small screens.’

We have not explored this wealth of materials with an encyclopaedic approach – mapping and listing websites or online resources may well be useful but does not produce a reflection on this opportunity – but we asked some curators/programmers for their critical point of view, putting themselves to the test and sharing their experience.

We asked them – each in their own field – to disclose the instruments that they use to orient their efforts, their points of reference, their knowledge, and the conceptual connections with which they construct an online programme, including how they avail themselves of this ‘virtual’ film dimension in their work. Another goal was for them to highlight the opportunities and the critical points, putting the resources in a historical and critical dimension, enabling us to find new paths and master new instruments of our own.

This is doubtlessly an ongoing process, but we believe it should be surveyed as we are convinced that in the years to come it will bring about deep change both in terms of access to the world film heritage and in terms of curatorship and programming as far as education and dissemination of film culture are concerned.

We would like the Pesaro Film Festival to become a site of critical exploration of a territory familiar to everyone but scarcely known. Sharing and juxtaposing perspectives could gradually contribute to a mapping of the future and a working hypothesis.

This section is accompanied by an e-book published by the Pesaro Film Festival available for free on the website of the Festival and the major platforms of distribution. The reflection that starts at the Festival is expanded through critical essays and more proposals of online programmes offered by the section curators and other illustrious contributors such as Oliver Hanley, Maurizio Marras, and Rick Prelinger.

 


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PFF56 22-29 08 2020
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