One of the masterpieces of cinema and of the 1970s, a chamber ensemble for three voices in the unforgettable portrayals by Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont, and Françoise Lebrun. Alexandre, Marie, and Veronika love each other, they meet, their stories intertwine, they talk, in a succession of comedy and drama. Wrong-footing in its tender gaze onto the void, the movie crosses through repeated stations, indoors and out, among bodies and words in uncertain motion revolving around love. In tactile black and white, the film moves in private and public territories that are able to influence time.
In his third film, an anthropological study of reality opens up to documentary narration. Every year, Pessac (the city where the director was born) awards a local girl with the title of Rosière for her purity and virtue. Without passing judgment on that old-fashioned ritual, the filmmaker gives in to unexpressed moments of freedom and sweetness, captured in the faces of the province and his own roots.
Eleven years after his first documentary, Eustache returns to film, in color, the ritual of his hometown. Another investigation, an emotional trip toward the semblance and the roots of tradition. Again, faces which recall from afar the gazes of all the people he has observed and loved in his films, in an invaluable memory of himself and the other.
The perfect interpenetration of directing and editing takes Eustache and the documentary filmmaker Jean-Michel Barjol to a village in the Ardèche to narrate the farmers’ ritual of hog butchering. Corporeal cinema about the origins and the mystery of nature, able to capture its soul in the dense fog and the hazy outlines of the countryside.
Almost a covert contact between the infernal panel of Bosch’s triptych and the cinema of Eustache. The improvised lecture by his friend, the psychoanalyst Jean-Noël Picq, slowly reveals to a group of listeners the painter’s most creative and dynamic panel, the way it breaks up the stories and concentrates them in disconnected points.
Narbonne. Daniel dresses up like Father Christmas to earn enough money to buy a duffle coat and try his luck with the female universe. Marked by the performance of the 22-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud (already a legend and the projection of the nouvelle vague),the movie is Eustache’s first cinematographic incursion into autobiography, a sort of sentimental education à la Flaubert, permeated by the feelings of emptiness and dissonance of the provinces.
Two young wastrels clumsily rob the woman they just picked up. The story of a Parisian Sunday in the urban and interior landscape of Montmartre and Pigalle captures the beat of life. Eustache’s dazzling and blunt debut in full nouvelle vague, between tense dreams and a feeling of marginalization.
The photographer Alix Cléo Roubaud (another talent who died prematurely) shows her works to Boris Eustache, the filmmaker’s young son: faces, landscapes, still lifes, and memories, narrated in an increasingly personal, involved, and diachronic manner. A progressive detachment of words and images for a discussion of the imaginary which connects director and narrator.
Eustache goes back to that time between childhood and adolescence, mirroring himself in the silent and already “elsewhere” gaze of the protagonist Daniel: between Pessac, where he lives with his grandmother, and Narbonne, where he is unable to truly reconnect with his mother, and which leaves an unfilled void inside him. In the splendid colors of Nestor Almendros, with Ingrid Caven as the mother, a movie about the mystery of childhood and cinema, which was wrongly ignored and misunderstood.
A milestone for Eustache: an endless sequence shot of his grandmother Odette Robert, the story of her life and of “history,” going back in time, as reflected in the hidden face of her grandson, the director, who is filmed from behind. A fixed, invisible, and tender mise en abîme, able to evoke legends, combining Lumière and Méliès, words and ghostly bodies.