When the Camera Is On, Cinema Is Happening: The Complete Works of Jean Eustache
Screening Dates
  • July 22, 2023 6:30
  • July 30, 2023 8:30
New Restorations

Not to be missed … So humiliating and ridiculous it provokes both pity and laughter.”

Amy Taubin, Village Voice

A veritable skeleton key for unlocking Eustache’s sophisticated designs, A Dirty Story repeats the telling of the same ribald story in two outwardly incompatible modes. The first part, shot in 35mm, features actor Michael Lonsdale as a guest at a social gathering, recounting a voyeuristic escapade he engaged in years earlier. Made aware of a peephole in the women’s washroom of a cafe, he joined a coterie of local perverts queuing up to spy on vulvas. The next portion, shot in 16mm, is the documentary” account of the same event, this time with Eustache’s friend Jean-Noël Picq telling the anecdote supposedly from experience. The diptych’s peculiar sequencing—the refined fictionalized version preceding the ostensibly unscripted original—muddies the believability of either. French censors slapped an X rating on the film, despite it depicting nothing more than a man talking.

In French with English subtitles

“[Whether we] express our hilarity or outrage … in the end, we are reminded that the power of film is not dependent on a faithful representation of reality, but lies in its evocative qualities (whether visual or aural) and in its effects on the audience’s imagination.” Martine Pierquin, Sight and Sound

“[One] film can stand alone as a record of the performance of a natural storyteller, but the [other] broadens the film’s subject, turning our attention towards the nature of movies and performance.” Jared Rapfogel, Senses of Cinema

followed by

Le jardin des délices de Jérôme Bosch
(Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Delights)
France 1981
34 min. DCP

Commissioned by the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) in 1979 to direct an episode of its omnibus series Les enthousiastes, Eustache invited his friend Jean-Noël Picq (the scopophilic raconteur of A Dirty Story) to interpret a panel from Bosch’s iconic triptych. In a thoroughly Eustachian framing maneuver, Picq describes what he remembers seeing in the painting a few years earlier. Increasingly, the reading becomes obtuse and incongruous with the artwork itself.

In French with English subtitles