The great outdoors and open sea director Jacques Rozier, who died at the age of 96, with just a handful of films became a New Wave figure, admired by his peers and critics.
Jean Vigo Prize 1986 for “Maine Océan”, René Clair Prize 1997 for all his works, Carrosse d’or 2002 in Cannes, directed “Adieu Philippine” (1962), “Du Côté d’Orouët” (1973) and ” Castaways on an Island Turtles” (1976).
Four films in more than half a century.. He shot two more films, “Vive Martingale” (2001), which never hit theaters, and “Le Parque Barisan” (2007), which remained unfinished.
Anar with a soft heart, a crossroads lover, sometimes uncontrollable, sometimes amateur director, but also an image-right obsessed researcher, has also shot around twenty short films, often been noticed and worked in television.
In 2019, Jean-Luc Godard welcomed (since his death) the impact that Jacques Rozier had on French cinema: “When Agnès Varda died, I thought: the real New Wave, there are only two of us left. Me and (…) Jacques Rozier who started a little earlier than me.”
The New Wave movement, which was born at the end of the 1950s, aims to move away from classic cinematographic techniques in favor of experimentation and an individual, even impressive, approach. Besides Jacques Rozier, its most emblematic figures are Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy and Eric Rohmer.
“Of the filmmakers of the New Wave, Rozier is the one who wanders. Who likes to make everything go wrong, in order to nourish his own sense of drama (…)”, he welcomed the announcement of his death at the Cinémathèque française.
Born November 10, 1926 in Paris. He graduated from IDHEC (the film school that became Fémis) in 1947, was Jean Renoir’s assistant on “French Cancan” (1955), directed short films such as “Paparazzi” and “Le Parti des choses” (both in 1963) behind the scenes of a film shoot Godard’s contempt.
In 1962 his first feature film, Adieu Philippine, a bittersweet story of French youth, set against the backdrop of the Algerian war, was released and became one of the key films of the New Wave.
– Restricted financing –
Supported by François Truffaut and Godard. However, he was not successful. Same fate for the next film, 11 years later, On Arouet’s Side, a story (filmed in 16mm initially) of a middle-class family on vacation.
Jacques Rozier invites Pierre Richard, the then star of French cinema, to play in “The Outcasts of Turtle Island.” The movie does a little better.
There we find his humor tinged with irony and a taste for dreamlike atmosphere. It tells the story of two travel agency employees who launch a new Robinson Crusoé-style tourism concept. In the end, it’s a fiasco…
Maine Océan (1985) recounts the journey, or rather the paternal journey to western France, of eccentric characters: a Brazilian singer, two train conductors (Bernard Ménez and Luis Rigaud), a hysterical lawyer and a quick-tempered fisherman-sailor.
Your films “have a false lightness, a freshness that one finds only in first films (…). All your films seem like firsts,” said the young director Guillaume Braque in 2019 during a meeting organized by Télérama with the old master.
The French directors who follow you on your heels, I think of Sophie Letourneur, Justine Tritt and myself, have in common that they wrote and shot their first film in a few weeks, with a script scarcely completed, and very limited financing. Writing years.
Jacques Rozier, still lively despite his age, replied, “As soon as I hear someone tell me they’ve been refining a script for two years, I want to tell them to keep it to themselves. Cinema is about risk and desire. Like love.”
French director Jacques Rozier (right) with French-Portuguese actor Louis Rigaud at the Venice Film Festival in September 2001
French director Jacques Rozier during the Venice Film Festival in September 2001
France Press agency