• Flash Competition


Pierre Creton

Pierre Creton
All about love… films such as Go, Toto ! (FID 2017) and Beautiful Summer (FID 2019) were radiantly so. After Life after Death (2002) and The Hour of the Shepherd (FID 2008), The House, is in Pierre Creton is work the cardinal point of his work. House of love: this short film, truly novel in style, takes us into the deepest depths of the matrix, the most intimate core of his work. Three circular panoramas follow one after the other, in three different interiors. Placed in the centre of the room, the camera rotates. Each shot is associated with a piece of music, that fills the space with sound throughout. If image and music come together in such perfect harmony, it is because Creton has placed his camera on a record player, a perfect motorised stand. A simple and ingenious operation, which turns the record into a camera, endowing music with the power to record the passage of time and beings, the variations of the visible as we listen. The monotonous rotation is interrupted by a multitude of events: variations in light, the movement of greenery in the wind seen through the window, the free and active presence of animals, the furtive spectre-like passages of humans. Shadows and reflections of the living and the dead, equally present and absent between the walls that have preserved the memory of love, of hours spent in embrace or listening to records. A gay porno soundtrack sneaks in between Pierre Henry’s creaking door and the song from the second house. In the third, the final chorus of the St Matthew’s Passion invites us to gather around the tomb, awaiting resurgence. With each turn of the camera, a boundless intimate world is born, dies and resurrects. Houses of love are also monuments to the dead, past or future. Sex and death, a secret chamber mingling art and life. Asceticism, regularity, discretion: this new form is also that of the modesty required of those who venture beyond the threshold of such a room.
(Cyril Neyrat)

Interview with Pierre Creton

1. This short film, a succession of three circular pan shots in three indoor areas, presents a logic that’s totally new in your work. What inspired you to make it? What determined the choice of this circular, rigorous and repetitive form?
I think (and my mistake is not taking notes, or perhaps the film is the notes) that I started out with a memory that I wanted to update. “Remembering” is already a vast undertaking… So I thought that it would be a film about time – the past and the present… and why not the future? I thought it’d be like science fiction where time has no grip. The memory was of a love affair with a young man my age, a film student. He’d filmed long still shots in an empty house set to Variation pour une porte et un soupir. So I set out with the memory of his film, which probably doesn’t exist anymore (it was part of his university course-work and he didn’t make any films after that). The form itself was the film’s project: 180° pans/music associated with each of the houses. All these tracks that I listen to on vinyl on a turntable certainly influenced the movie’s form.

2. In the first tracking shot, we recognise your home, a room filmed many times in previous movies. Here, in addition to this house, you involve two other houses. What were the reasons for choosing them, what connects them?

3. The regularity of the circular tracking shots hints at the use of heavy equipment. But the variations of light suggest your own manipulation. Can you tell us a little about how the film was made? How much of it was mechanical, and how much human?
I redid the shots several times, they were never quite satisfactory. At first, I did it manually, filming the pan shots by hand, full of jerky movements. I tried with a makeshift turntable, and the mechanical aspect, even with its slight irregularities, was just what I was looking for. While the camera rolled and turned on its own, I improvised circulation in the rooms by opening and closing doors and turning the lights on and off. I kept getting caught out by my refection in the windows or my shadow on the walls, so in the end, I decided to accept it. And maybe I eventually associated these reflections and shadows with the animals passing by…

4. What can you tell us about the subtle and sometimes strong variations of light, in contrast to the monotonous movement of the tracking shots?
I don’t know what made me do something about the monotony of the pan shots by playing with the light. Fear of boredom? A taste for fiction? Obviously, for every movement in space (and time), we can tell ourselves stories. It’s as though in a few minutes, days, seasons and years go by.

5. The rooms where these tracking shots take place seem to be deserted by their inhabitants. But human figures appear furtively in shadows on the wall or reflections. Are these haunted houses again?
The first house, my house, stays faithful to the ghost of Jean Lambert. For the others, I resorted to dramatisation – they’re falsely deserted. They’re living houses, the lovers very much alive.

6. The succession of shots is accompanied by a succession of tracks – from a piece of musique concrète by Pierre Henry to an extract from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion via what seems to be the soundtrack of a porn film. What can you tell us about these choices and how did you associate these sound interludes with the places filmed? Broadly speaking, how did you imagine and devise the movie’s sound?
Pierre Henry’s Variation pour une porte et un soupir was the inspiration for this film. This music associated with the house in Vattetot-sur-mer was a way of coming back to Jean Lambert in L’heure du Berger and two of his characters who live in the houses in House of Love. In the second house, at Pierre B’s, I tuned the synchronous sound of the room (the clock) to the soundtrack of a porn video and Jozef Van Wissem’s Confinement. Choosing this title was a way of evoking the confinement that stopped me from presenting my film at last year’s FIDMarseille. Like everyone else, I would never have imagined or expected this kind of confinement where so many people went round in circles in their own homes. In fact, it was a situation I’ve fantasised about since my childhood – solitude and silence! In the third house, at Vincent B’s, the old geese outside calling to the goslings raised inside are set to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and the beloved, shared music is obvious. But ultimately, the film’s sound (the sound track) is the almost imperceptible sound of the turntable and its mechanism.

7. ‘House of Love’ is in the singular, but there are three houses! It’s also the name of an English pop group from the 1990s. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Yes, there are several houses, but each time, it’s one house. And it’s the singularity of each one that’s important, hence the singular. The title came to me straight away; maybe that was what came first. It doesn’t refer to the British pop group, which I hadn’t heard of. But it has a nice ring to it, and echoes the soundtrack of the English porn video. And, of course, House of Love is like Yes Sir! I think that even without speaking any English, everyone can understand it.

Interview by Cyril Neyrat

  • Flash Competition

Technical sheet

France / 2021 / 21’

Original Version : No dialogue.
Script : Pierre Creton.
Photography : Pierre Creton.
Editing : Pierre Creton.
Sound : Pierre Creton.
Production : Pierre Creton.
Filmography : La cabane de dieu, 2012-2020. L’avenir le dira, 2020. Le bel été, 2019. Un dieu a la peau douce, 2019. Va, Toto !, 2017. Sur la voie critique, 2013-2017. Simon at the crack of down (réalisé avec Vincent Barré), 2016. Petit traité de la marche en plaine (réalisé avec Vincent Barré), 2014. Sur la voie, 2013. Le Marché, petit commerce documentaire, 2012. Côté jardin, 2011. Le grand cortège, 2011. N’avons-nous pas toujours été bienveillants ? (recueil), 2010. Deng guo Yuan, in the garden, 2010. Aline Cézanne, 2010. Le paysage pour témoin, rencontre avec Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt, 2009. Papa, Maman, Perret et moi, un appartement pour témoin, 2009. Maniquerville, 2009. L’heure du Berger, 2008. Mètis (réalisation Vincent Barré), 2007. Les vrilles de la vigne, 2007. L’arc d’Iris, souvenir d’un jardin (réalisé avec Vincent Barré), 2006. Paysage imposé, 2006. Le voyage à Vézelay, 2005. Détour suivi de Jovan from Foula (réalisé avec Vincent Barré), 2005. Secteur 545, 2004. Le soleil les regarde (recueil), 2002. Une saison, 2002. La vie après la mort, 2002. La tournée, 1997. L’assujetti, 1999. Mercier et Camier (réalisé avec Sophie Roger), 1998. Sept pièces du puzzle néolibéral, 1997. Le vicinal, 1994. Soleil, 1988.