When the Camera Is On, Cinema Is Happening: The Complete Works of Jean Eustache
Screening Dates
  • July 27, 2023 6:30
  • July 31, 2023 8:10

Alix’s Pictures
(Les photos d’Alix)
France 1982
Jean Eustache
18 min. DCP

Jean Eustache’s final film before his suicide in 1981 is a playful distillation of his customary obfuscation of documentary and fiction forms. The spartan setup has photographer Alix Cléo Roubaud discussing her pictures with Eustache’s young-adult son Boris. What starts out as a rather routine show-and-tell soon yields discord as the descriptions become nebulous and contradictory to the images shown. (A similar gambit occurs in Eustache’s made-for-TV short Le jardin des délices de Jérôme Bosch.) The result is a cunning litmus test for our threshold of belief, and a fitting swansong for a director’s fascination with exposing the counterfeit boundaries between fact and fiction in art.

In French with English subtitles

Both lyrical and jarring.” Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

Breathtaking … A more or less wide breach forms between what is said and what we see, without either of the two observers worrying about it, but in such a way that within oneself one starts feeling disquiet compounded by fascination.” Raymond Bellour

followed by

The Wasted Breath of Jean Eustache
aka The Lost Sorrows of Jean Eustache
(La Peine perdue de Jean Eustache)
France 1997
Angel Diaz
52 min. Beta SP

Spanish filmmaker Angel Diaz’s tribute to, and treatise on, the enigmatic Jean Eustache offers a richly complex portrait of the artist some fifteen years after his death. The French-made documentary, shot by Eustache cinematographer Philippe Théaudière in suitably austere fashion, marries clips from the filmmaker’s then hard-to-access oeuvre with voice-over excerpts of his writing and the recollections of collaborators (Jean-Pierre Léaud, Françoise Lebrun, and Le cochon co-director Jean-Michel Barjol among them). Illuminated is Eustache’s longing to return cinema to its infancy, to a purer state of recorded reality, as well as his rejection of the cult of auteurism, despite the autobiographical nature of his work. The Wasted Breath of Jean Eustache serves as an exemplary postscript to our series.

In French with English subtitles

Arguably one of the most intelligent biographies of a filmmaker ever produced.” National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

The July 27 screening will include an introduction by Thierry Garrel, who is thanked in the credits of The Wasted Breath for his role at ARTE France, co-financier of the film.


Thierry Garrel, a French Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and 2015 recipient of the Prix des Auteurs de la SCAM, is former head of the Documentary and Junior Authors Division at France’s Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA). He was founder and director from 1987 to 2008 of the Documentary Film Department of La Sept and ARTE France, the European cultural channel. From 2015 to 2022, he curated the FRENCH FRENCH series for Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival.