À l’ombre de la canaille bleue (In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal). 1985. France. Directed by Pierre Clémenti. Screenplay by Clémenti, based on a short story by Achmi Gachem. With Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Gachem, Clémenti, Simon Reggiani, Nadine Hermand. DCP from 16mm. In French; English subtitles. Courtesy the Cinémathèque française. 84 min.
Pierre Clémenti’s sole feature as a director is a dystopian crime story, inspired by William S. Burroughs, set in the underbelly of “Nécrocity.” In this fictionalized Paris, fueled by heroin and paranoia, an insurgent group (played by Clémenti’s inner circle) tries to keep one step ahead of the grip of state power, whose mastermind is a villainous military leader played by Clémenti himself. Shot in 1978–79, an early silent version was shown at the Centre Pompidou as a live happening with 20 musicians before the film’s eventual completion in 1985. Drenched in neon lights and leather, In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal evokes the New York No Wave scene while giving “the most punk, the most urban, and the most willingly chaotic portrait of Paris in the late 1970s.” (Philippe Azoury)