The Zanzibar Films




Co-presented by Cinefamily EXP, Veggie Cloud, La Collectionneuse, and Los Angeles Filmforum

In the storied tradition of French cinema, the New Wave may be the most famous break with tradition – but there were also the underseen, so-called Zanzibar films, named for a 1969 voyage to that then-Maoist country, and made in and around the student protests of May ‘68 by a long-haired, Parisian Warhol’s factory-esque cast of painters, models, artists, amateurs, dandies, and film techs – everyone but established filmmakers. The loose constellation of films they produced were unified by a mystical, hippie kind of avant-garde – one that rubbed up against, but didn’t define itself by, the political – instead the group’s greatest interventions were formal: long takes, drug-fueled improvisation, and purely counter-cultural amateurism. The filmmakers weren’t the only ones making a radical intervention in the world of French cinema – their patroness was too. French heiress Sylvina Boissonnas financed twelve of these films, apparently holding court at the Coupole restaurant, ready to sign checks for virtually anyone with an idea – making rather costly 35mm film stock available to a fascinating crowd. Still underseen today, the Zanzibar films, more than anything, are the products of a group that undertook filmmaking without traditional credentials, and without any intention to distribute, release, or capitalize on the work.

Special thanks to Jackie Raynal, Jacob Perlin, and Zanzibar scholar Sally Shafto.


Visa de censure n° X + Vite

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8/19/2017 - 7PM

Visa de censure n° X

Best known for his roles in Belle de jour, Sweet Movie, and many more, Pierre Clementi was also the architect behind a transgressive, high-minded, and disorienting cinema. Like an acid-soaked freefall, Visa de censure n° X is a rush of nudity and color from one of France’s most seductively watchable actors, set to an album’s worth of psychedelic prog rock (performed by the Delired Cameleon Family, a group featuring members of French band Clearlight).

Dir. Pierre Clementi, 1968, digital presentation, 44 min.

Vite

In 1969, the painter-sculptor Daniel Pommereulle made his third film, this one financed by Sylvina Boissonnas. Although only a short, Vite was one of the most costly of all the Zanzibar productions. It features, for instance, shots of the moon taken by a state-of-the-art telescope, the Questar, that Pommereulle first saw while visiting Marlon Brando in southern California in 1968. In Rohmer’s La collectionneuse, Pommereulle and his friend Adrien philosophize on how best to achieve le vide (emptiness) during their summer holidays. Three years later, Pommereulle would transform the word “vide” to “vite” (quickly), signifying his profound disenchantment with the aftermath of the revolution of May ’68. —Sally Shafto

Dir. Daniel Pommereulle, 1969, digital presentation, 37 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Inner Scar + Chromo Sud

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8/13/2017 - 10:15PM

The Inner Scar

A film like no other, The Inner Scar (La cicatrice intérieure) is a seductive and mysteriously existential ramble through various barren landscapes, helmed by Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico (who provides songs for the film), Pierre Clementi, director Philippe Garrel himself (with whom she had a ten year relationship), and even Nico’s son. You’ll recognize the cover the 1970 album Desertshore as being plucked from this gorgeous, primal moan of a film.

Dir. Philippe Garrel, 1972, DCP, 60 min.

Chromo Sud

Though he only made three films, Etienne O’Leary’s work is an impactful feat of editing. Peripheral to the Zanzibar group, but an ideal companion, Chromo Sud is a pulsing, psychedelic drug fueled freakout in which shots from the barricades of May ‘68 protests become a single, layered, flashing, collage for 21 vital minutes.

Dir. Etienne O’Leary, 1968, 16mm, 21 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

An Evening with Jackie Raynal featuring Deux Fois

HERO-Deux Fois Jackie Raynal
8/12/2017 - 7PM

Co-presented by Veggie Cloud

“Tonight will be the end of meaning. Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.”

Join us for an evening with core Zanzibar figure, filmmaker, editor, and programmer Jackie Raynal, featuring a screening of her wildly experimental film, Deux Fois.

While Jackie Raynal is best known as the former programmer of two of New York’s premiere art cinemas—the Carnegie Hall and the Bleecker Street—she began her career in film nearly forty years ago in Paris, where by 1964 she was the youngest film editor in France, editing for Éric Rohmer among others. Challenged by Zanzibar patroness Boissonnas to stop editing other people’s films and make her own, Raynal traveled to Barcelona, where she completed Deux Fois (translated as Two Times, or playfully, Twice Upon a Time) in a single week. One of the most enigmatic of the Zanzibar films, it is composed of a series of unconnected episodes, some of which are repeated. The film begins with a prologue in which Raynal (carefully made-up and fashionably dressed) is seated, head lowered and hands joined in prayer, before both her dinner and her film. While Deux Fois lays claim to the Surrealist legacy of Buñuel and Cocteau, it gained critical recognition as a pioneering work within the burgeoning feminist cinema. —Sally Shafto

Dir. Jackie Raynal, 1968, digital presentation, 65 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Inner Scar & Chromo Sud (with Jackie Raynal in person)

inner-scar
8/11/2017 - 10PM

Co-presented by Veggie Cloud

The Inner Scar

A film like no other, The Inner Scar (La cicatrice intérieure) is a seductive and mysteriously existential ramble through various barren landscapes, helmed by Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico (who provides songs for the film), Pierre Clementi, director Philippe Garrel himself (with whom she had a ten year relationship), and even Nico’s son. You’ll recognize the cover the 1970 album Desertshore as being plucked from this gorgeous, primal moan of a film.

Dir. Philippe Garrel, 1972, DCP, 60 min.

Chromo Sud

Though he only made three films, Etienne O’Leary’s work is an impactful feat of editing. Peripheral to the Zanzibar group, but an ideal companion, Chromo Sud is a pulsing, psychedelic drug fueled freakout in which shots from the barricades of May ‘68 protests become a single, layered, flashing, collage for 21 vital minutes.

Dir. Etienne O’Leary, 1968, 16mm, 21 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Zanzibar Opening Night Party (with Jackie Raynal in person)

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8/10/2017 - 7:30PM

Co-presented by Veggie Cloud

An almost-lost, eccentric period of French film history, the Zanzibar films mark a spurt of ingenuity borne of a revolutionary time, and are ripe for rediscovery. Film programmer, editor, and filmmaker Jackie Raynal joins us for an evening of rare clips and images that will take us on a tour through the Zanzibar moment. From Philippe Garrel and model-muse Zouzou to artist Danielle Pommereulle, the Zanzibar scene was a cast of characters as much as it was a film movement, and Raynal was at the center of it all.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

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