• GNCR Award  
  • International Competition

LA VIE DES HOMMES INFÂMES

THE LIVES OF INFAMOUS MEN

Gilles Deroo

Marianne Pistone

La vie des hommes infâmes (The Life of Infamous Men) was the project for a book that never saw the light of day but for which Michel Foucault wrote a preface. He wanted to collect the written traces of peculiar lives whose uniqueness was considered scandalous and led to denunciations and legal condemnations. “All these lives that were destined to pass by unnoticed and disappear without ever having been described were only able to leave traces – brief, incisive, and often enigmatic – when they had fleeting contact with the authorities. It is therefore probably impossible ever to recapture them in themselves, as they might have been ‘in the wild’”. It’s this “in the wild” state of a life summarised in a few lines in an internment register from 1707 that Marianne Pistone and Gilles Deroo’s film seeks to reconstruct. As pared-down and luminous as Mouton, their previous feature, The Life of Infamous Men brings out from the pithy portrait cited in its opening a gallery of genre scenes, arranging them in a patchy narrative that replays the fragmentary layers of these lives. In doing so, it liberates Mathurin’s story from the “declamations, [the] tactical bias, [the] peremptory lies that the authorities’ games and the relationships with it involve”. Here, the authorities’ representatives make up a truculent court of jesters with illiterate scribes, egotistical judges and plodding policemen bundled up in their uniforms. And as for Mathurin Milan, his life is interwoven with tiny moments whose delicacy becomes clearer as he moves away from the world of men – the dinners where bread is shared whilst contemplating a beetle or a tulip in the undergrowth, his hermit’s journey resembling a sensuous quest, achieved by the film’s particular attention to the gestures of kneading dough, to the rustlings of nature, the breathing of beasts, and the pounding of boots interrupting the “wild state” of these infamous lives.
(Claire Lasolle)

  • GNCR Award  
  • International Competition

Technical sheet

France / 2022 / Colour / 16 mm / 87’ — FIDLab 2020

Original version : french
Subtitles : english
Script : Marianne Pistone, Gilles Deroo.
Photography : Adrien Lecouturier, Tristan Bordmann
Editing : Marianne Pistone, Gilles Deroo.
Sound : Jérémy Morelle
Casting : Julien Nortier, Jade Laurencier, Thierry Zirnheld, Jean-Bernard Peyvieux, Marine Menot, Michaël Mormentyn

Production : Thomas Ordonneau (Shellac Sud).

Filmography :
Mouton, 2014
Hiver (Les grands chats), 2008
Vivat (Qu’il vive), 2006
Sylvain aux ombres, 2006.