Based on fourteen poems by Max Jacob put to music by Henri Sauguet and Robert Caby, Carte de visite is a particularly vibrant and faithful tribute to the overlooked great poet. Michel Zumpf makes good use of cinema and directs his film just like Max Jacob changed poetry and risked his life – in a unique and unsettling harmony between the most studied seriousness and the wildest imagination. Each poem is sung live in a specific location, more or less relatedto the poet’s journey: from Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire abbey, where the atheist Jew converted to Catholicism lived his faith through asceticism and mysticism, to the Cité de la Muette in Drancy, on the site of the transit camp where Max Jacob died as a martyr in March 1944. A man and a woman are pruning the vines by a river, while car noises fill the space, a deer sneaks out behind a grove of trees, a man dressed in black suddenly comes to us from the depth of field and starts singing in the vineyard. Each confluence between the singing and landscapeor architecture creates a poetic composition which, through a cut-up game of distances and resonances, arouses the spiritual ghosts from multiple pasts in the physical reality of today’s France. By implanting video inserts on the sung framework of the film, and by multiplying collages and digressions, Zumpf reinvents the unassuming proto-surrealism of Jacob and builds to his glory the least solemn of monuments. A geographic oratorio, a Saint Max Passion. (C.N.)
Original version : french. Subtitles : english. Poetries : Max Jacob. Music : Henri Sauguet, Robert Caby. Musicians : Nathalie Forget, Jean-Yves Aizic, Matthieu Acar, Julien Blanc, Anne-Lise Gastaldi, Valentina Igoshina. Image : Claire Mathon, Antoine Sanier, Christophe Beaucarne, Hugues Gemignani, Eden Lagaly -Faynot. Son : Olivier Mauvezin, Henri Maikoff, Marc Parazon, Thierry Delor. Editing : Sylvie Lager, Lucie Brux. Avec : Jean-François Balmer, Matthieu de Laubier, Maxence Tual, Maud Gnidzaz, Philippe Bellet, Héloïse Koempgen-Bramy, Olivier Dejean, Charlotte Schumann, Jean- François Rouchon, Virgile Ancely, Paul-Alexandre Dubois, Ronan Meyblum, Jean-Jacques David, Artavazd Sargzyan, Maciej Kotlarski, Jean Fischer, Nicolas Certenais, Aliénor Feix, Patrick Boucher, Maud Wyler.
Production : Le Géographe manuel.
Filmography : Le Géographe manuel, 1994. Vingt Vins, 1996. Vêtement d’image, 2004. Onde Quichotte à Chaillot, 2016. Socrate pour prendre congé, 2017.
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