Jean Eustache

La Peine perdue de Jean Eustache, 1997

Angel Díez’s reverent and elegiac rumination on the iconoclastic, deeply personal cinema of Jean Eustache, La Peine perdue de Jean Eustache (The Lost Sorrows of Jean Eustache) hews closer to essay film than straightforward documentary, a muted, brooding tone piece where loss, grief, and mourning are reflected in the images of empty spaces, fragmented figures,… read more »

Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Delights, 1980

Filmed by Jean Eustache for the television program, Les Enthousiastes, Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Delights presents a series of unstructured observations, free associations, and interpretations on the third panel of Bosch’s well-known oil on wood triptych by Eustache’s friend, Jean Frapat before a small captive audience. From the onset, Eustache creates a wry and playful… read more »

Les Photos d’Alix, 1978

Ostensibly an informal guided commentary through personal photographs taken by Alix Cléo Roubaud for a young interviewer (Boris Eustache), Jean Eustache’s Les Photos d’Alix ingeniously explores the nature of reality and perspective within the framework of documentary filmmaking. This sense of trompe l’oeil is prefigured in an early double exposed photograph of Alix’s husband, novelist… read more »

Une Sale histoire, 1977

Composed of two separate, near verbatim vignettes – alternately framed as a documentary, then as fiction film – Une Sale histoire is told from the perspective of a recovering peeping tom who tells his sordid tale of voyeuristic obsession before an intimate, predominantly female audience. In the first part, the spatial relation between the speaker,… read more »

Mes petites amoureuses, 1974

In Luc Moullet’s essay, Better to Burn Out than to Fade Away: Blue Collar Dandy, Moullet frames Jean Eustache’s decision to film his grandmother Odette Robert for Numéro Zéro within the context of the postwar generation’s mindset: Grandparents played an important role in the lives of many French filmmakers during this period. The generation born… read more »

The Mother and the Whore, 1973

“I might like a woman because she was in a Bresson film”, muses the outwardly disaffected and ironically monikered idle intellectual (and consummate poseur) Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who, like the Macedonian great historical figure of his etymological namesake, is embarking on an exploration into yet another uncharted terrain of a seemingly insatiable thirst for physical… read more »

Numéro Zéro, 1971/2003

Composed as an uninterrupted conversation with Jean Eustache’s sprightly, talkative, nearly blind, septuagenarian maternal grandmother, Odette Robert, Numéro Zéro prefigures the studies in narrative construction of Une Sale histoire in its illustration of performance and interpenetrating film reality. Inspired by their conversation during an afternoon stroll, the film reflects Eustache’s assumed role as archivist, creating… read more »

Santa Clause Has Blue Eyes, 1966

Droll, charming, and picaresque, Jean Eustache’s Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes chronicles the empty hours, petty capers, and amorous misadventures of Daniel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), an unmotivated (and consequently fired) erstwhile bricklayer and modern day dandy who, rather than admit to his blue collar roots, has concocted an elaborate tale of paternal conspiracy and social consciousness… read more »

Le Cochon, 1970

Something of a germinal template for Raymond Depardon’s Profils Paysans films on a dying way of life in rural (and largely forgotten) France, Jean Eustache and Jean-Michel Barjol’s reverent, vital, and painstakingly observed ethnographic documentary Le Cochon chronicles a day in the life of peasant farmers in the mountainous region of the Massif Central. In… read more »