Both films are fables of sort, dark quests and symbolic journeys.
Un reve plus long que la nuit tells the fairy tale of a girl named Camelia. As tarot cards are laid down for her, she discovers her fate: “the Hermit is the role you have to play”, a wanderer in search of a spiritual treasure. She encounters mythical creatures, a Dragon, Bird-man, and other fantastical figures. When a witch grants her wish to be transformed into a grown-up, her voyage continues, darker and more violent, with Death ever-present. Shot outside Paris in the summer of 1975, the film is a both highly collaborative and intensely personal work, with Jean Tinguely of course, her daughter Laura in the title role, and also artists and friends such as Daniel Spoerri, Peter Whitehead, Eva Aeppli and Andrée Putman.
Le Grand Depart is the only feature film directed by painter and sculptor Martial Raysse. Following a masked cat (reminiscent of the Puss in Boots story, the fairy-tale of social mobility), we set off on a trip punctuated with muggings, free love and casual crime, to the bucolic setting of a commune led by a Mr Nature (Sterling Hayden). The guru announces that the time has come, and takes his followers onto the raft of freedom, for the ultimate voyage. Scenes in negative exposure and superimpositions create a paroxysmal universe where death and the miracle of existence are entangled to saturation. Shot in 1971, with little compromise to the conventions of cinema, the film corresponds to a period when the artist dropped out of the art scene in reaction to its commercialism.
I am hoping that these screenings will not only provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the immersive worlds of two artists better known for their paintings, sculptures and installations, but that they might suggest a counterpoint to our times of austerity of the imagination and parsimony of dream.