Pardo d’oro for a Master
In awarding the Pardo d’oro to Jean-Claude Brisseau for his new film La Fille de nulle part, the jury of the 65th edition of the Festival del film Locarno, with Apichatpong Weerasethakul as its president, has made a decision to not only recompense one of the greatest living French filmmakers for his entire body of work but also to salute a feature film that is an exemplary gesture of cinematic freedom, beauty and courage.
Like Tim Burton awarding him the Palme d’or at Cannes, Weerasethakul has demonstrated that a truly great filmmaker is able to recognise and appreciate the work of a fellow artist who has taken a completely different route from himself but still arrives as the same destination: cinema.
Like the New Wave filmmakers before him, former teacher Brisseau was imbued with classical western culture derived from American cinephilia. The Thai director comes from the world of contemporary art and interrogates the legends and history of his own country. There is no doubt an artisanal dimension and a particular mysticism (Marxist-Christian in the case of the French filmmaker, Buddhist in the case of the genius from Bangkok) that links the two men, despite their differences. Above all there is a tremendous belief in closely mingling ideas, sensations, feelings, and mise en scène.
Among the messages of joy and amazement sent by admirers of Brisseau’s work on the announcement of the awards, there was one I found particularly fine. It came from a young French female director who was attending the festival for the first time: “So totally deserved. Cinema and talent win out. It’s fantastic because it cannot be easy being one of the last great ‘Hollywood’ filmmakers, inhabiting the lonely peaks”.
Brisseau is no longer alone. He, alongside the other young filmmakers discovered at Locarno who believe cinema is still about courage and morality. Farewell.Olivier Père