• Hommage Paul Vecchiali


Paul Vecchiali

To those who might still be wondering whether it is possible to tackle a major social issue with the tools of cinema only, La Machine offers a definitive answer, empathic yet unsentimental, intelligent yet not self-righteous. The film deals with the murder of a child, an act that outrages the whole country, which is divided over the issue of death penalty. The amazing feat of the film is that it replaces the predictable unequivocal treatment with a simple structure around which are to center the various points of view that all the actors must develop on their own and fight tooth and nail for. Then Vecchiali uses his thousand eyes, as some devilish laboratory technician, to develop an experimental protocol, and to bring about and arrange events in order to recreate, out of this composite material, the straight line that will take the murderer to the scaffold, through the turmoil of all the grinding machines – be they medical, judicial, media, or societal. And even more impressive is the fact that the film is the exact opposite of what all this abstract engineering may suggest: it is violently personified, inhabited by a wild-eyed Jean-Christophe Bouvet, who plays cat and mouse with Vecchiali’s scalpel-camera, haunted by Roland Vincent’s dissonant nursery rhyme, evocative of both the child’s playful drive and his already autopsied death. A dialectic malaise that says a lot about the chilling power of the film.


  • Hommage Paul Vecchiali

Technical sheet

France / 1977 / 100’