The Complete Jean Vigo


“Vigo is cinema incarnate in one man.”

NEW RESTORATIONS! Known as the Rimbaud of the cinema, Jean Vigo’s reputation as one of film’s greatest poets and most influential talents rests on a legacy of but one feature and three shorter works — barely an evening’s viewing. Two of these, Zéro de conduite (1933) and L'Atalante (1934), are among cinema’s most extraordinary masterpieces. Striking in their ethereal beauty, offering a lyrical blend of realism and surrealism, and infused with a mischievous anarchic spirit, they are lasting testaments to Vigo’s status as a film artist of rare genius, and have inspired generations of filmmakers in France and elsewhere — including, significantly, the major talents of French poetic realism and the French New Wave.

Vigo was born in Paris in 1905. His parents were prominent anarchists. His father died in prison, under mysterious circumstances, when Vigo was 12. Afterwards, Vigo was sent off to boarding school under an assumed name, for his own protection. He was sickly much of his short life, and died of tuberculosis in 1934, at the age of 29, soon after completing L’Atalante. An award in his name, the Prix Jean Vigo, honouring “independence of spirit and quality of directing,” has been given out annually in France since 1951.

This is The Cinematheque’s first presentation of Vigo’s complete body of work since 1995.


Click for film notes + showtimes

Recent Showings

Vigo’s only feature is one of cinema’s most intoxicating and suggestive masterpieces — a tale of love and loss imbued with astonishing poetry.
One of the cinema’s most loved, most quoted, and most influential works is preceded by À propos de Nice and Taris, two of Vigo's early shorts.