Clémenti’s second film, New Old, is the chronicle of his life as an artist, and, like Visa de censure, it was shown in various cuts with live music before its final edit in 1979. Spanning the set of Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, Maurice Béjart’s ballets, and an encounter with Viva in Andy Warhol’s New York, the film’s episodic quality evokes Clémenti’s peripatetic existence. Its narrative vignettes are Clémenti’s first use of voiceover, bringing intimate sentiment and somber tones to a more introspective work. This tendency comes to fruition in Soleil, Clémenti’s last film, said to be his favorite, and described as “if [Arthur] Rimbaud had gotten hold of a camera” by the Cinémathèque française. Reworking existing footage with new imagery, the film opens with a reenactment of Clémenti’s arrest and imprisonment in Rome in 1971. With melancholy and grace, he takes stock of a life lived on his own terms, no matter the cost: “Writing, painting, fighting in our prisons, I am trying to collect all these energies which time had scattered. […] Here lies Pierre Clémenti. The deceased was beloved, was perfect, to excess. And then what?”
Soleil. 1988. France. Directed by Pierre Clémenti. DCP from 16mm. In French; English subtitles. Courtesy the Cinémathèque française. 17 min.
New Old ou les chroniques du temps présent. 1979. France. Directed by Pierre Clémenti. With Viva, Nadine Hermand, Michelle Bernet. DCP from 16mm. In French; English subtitles. Courtesy the Cinémathèque française. 67 min.