Clémenti’s formal genius as a filmmaker lies in his editing. Constantly reworking footage and repurposing imagery across films, Clémenti had lifetime access to editing facilities at the Centre Pompidou. It was there that three fully formed works were discovered among hours of 16mm rushes a decade after his death. Devoid of audio Clémenti would have likely added, these two silent films accentuate the pure lyricism of his image-making (Positano, presented with live accompaniment on October 14 and available on our Virtual Cinema, was the third).
Souvenirs, sounvenirs contains some of Clémenti’s earliest footage and is the closest to a traditional home movie, although its fleeting shots of Catherine Deneuve on set with Michel Deville or Philippe Garrel during the making of Le lit de la vierge are accompanied by signature bursts of color. La Deuxième Femme is a whirlwind across family and life on set, dense with frenetic montage and hallucinatory dissolves. The film’s title refers to his second wife Nadine, but its convulsive tempo and multiple subject matters unleash others resonances. A love letter to his mother, Nico, or Viva; a collective portrait with cameos by Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Richard Nixon, and I Dream of Jeannie; a lifetime of creative projects – Clémenti’s gift for filling the frame two-or-three times over matches his boundless passion for life and art.
Souvenirs, Souvenirs. 1967–78. France. Directed by Pierre Clémenti. With Clémenti, Bulle Ogier, Jean-Pierre Kalfon. DCP from 16mm. Courtesy the Cinémathèque française
. 28 min.
La Deuxieme femme. 1978. France. Directed by Pierre Clémenti. With Udo Kier, Philippe Garrel, Bernard Lavilliers, Nico. DCP from 16mm. Courtesy the Cinémathèque française. 48 min.