Un américain. 1958. France. Written and directed by Alain Cavalier. With Jean Brasseur, Denise de Casabiance. 35mm. In French; English subtitles. 17 min.
As he inscribes the Parisian wanderings of an American sculptor, Alain Cavalier, in his first short film, is sensitive to the atmosphere of the city and to seemingly inconsequential events, conjuring the mood of an artist who is unable to make his dreams and fantasies palpably real. Courtesy La Cinémathèque française
L’Amerique insolite (America as Seen by a Frenchman). 1960. France. Directed by François Reichenbach. Screenplay by Reichenbach, Franz M. Lang, Chris Marker. With Jean Cocteau. DCP. In French; English subtitles. 90 min.
In 1960, the documentary filmmaker and traveler François Reichenbach gathered together some of the images he had recorded during his many trips to the United States during the late 1950s. What results is an amusing, fascinating portrait of a country in full postwar boom, a country that was very different from France in its modernist, creative aspects as well as its rigidly conservative political tendencies. Seen today, the film has a certain exoticism, perhaps naïveté, especially in its voiceover commentary (the director had rejected the sharper one written by Chris Marker); nonetheless it conveys the European perception of a country where, before any other, youth culture had already become an influential force. Digital restoration courtesy of Arrow Films and the American Genre Film Archive