Saturday, June 25, 1983
|Le Diable Probablement (The Devil Probably) plus Chants des Oiseaux|
Robert Bresson (France,1977)
Stéphane Tchalgadjieff (France)
Producer Stéphane Tchalgadjieff in Person
“The name of Stéphane Tchalgadjieff was associated with a privileged era in French film production,” writes Cahiers du Cinema’s Gilles Delavaud. “It should suffice, to convince you, to enumerate the list of directors whose films he has produced.” This list includes, among others, Jacques Rivette, Marguerite Duras, Charles Matton, Robert Bresson, Jean-Louis Trintignant, the operas of Pierre Jourdan, and collaborations with Straub-Huillet and Jean-Luc Godard. “Tchalgadjieff never thought that he would become rich with a film by Rivette or Duras,” writes Delavaud; and in the case of Bresson and Le Diable Probablement, this proved to be an understatement. But Tchalgadjieff has always been a producer who took risks for the sake of art. “What determined that he would work with Rivette, and the directors to follow, was not the decision to produce this or that film, but the choice in a person, the recognition of a talent, the interest of an auteur.” Tchalgadjieff himself states, “What interests me is to enter into the context of an oeuvre and help (the artist) to go even further with it.” PFA welcomes Stéphane Tchalgadjieff in person tonight, to discuss his work with Bresson, Rivette and others. He will speak after the first screening of Le Diable Probablement.
Le Diable Probablement (The Devil Probably) Bay Area Premiere!
Robert Bresson’s twelfth feature--his first from an entirely original script--was made in 1977 and never released commercially. When it screened at international film festivals in 1977, it was hailed by critics as his best film since the 1959 Pickpocket. A film about youth and beauty wasted in a polluted world, Le Diable Probablement was certainly Bresson’s most controversial film (accused by French censors of “inciting the young to suicide”) and is (probably) his most cynical. For its young hero, Charles, there is no redemption, either in religion or love, politics or psychoanalysis. The story begins at its end--with Charles’ suicide--and traces the previous six months in his life and that of his three close friends, and his gradual rejection of all solutions for the disgust he feels at a self-destructing world.
On the film’s release, Francois Truffaut wrote: “It seems very clear to me that what is important for Bresson is to kill the puppet-actor and to show a person at his best, at his or her truest moment of emotion and contained expression.... In a Bresson film, what is important is not so much what is shown but what is hidden. Ecology, the New Church, drugs, psychoanalysis, suicide? No, these are not the subjects of The Devil Probably. Its real subjects are the intelligence, the seriousness, and the beauty of the young people of today, and particularly of these four of whom one could say--quoting Cocteau’s remark in Les Enfants Terribles--‘the air they breathe is lighter than air.’”
• Directed and Written by Robert Bresson. Produced by Stéphane Tchalgadjieff. Photographed by Pasqualino de Santis. With Antoine Monnier, Tina Irissari, Henri de Maublanc, Laetitia Carcano. (1977, 93 mins, In French with English titles, 35mm, Color, Print from S. Tchalgadjieff)
Chants des Oiseaux
• Directed and Produced by Stéphane Tchalgadjieff. With Henri Serre. (22 mins, Print from S. Tchalgadjieff)