June 30





Runtime:75 minutes

SYNOPSIS: During periods of solitude in an Alsatian village following the end of a relationship, filmmaker Frank Beauvais found solace in the cinema screen by watching films obsessively. He then crafted an audio-visual diary by editing shots of the films he was devouring, in which he links his private life with world events.

URL: https://youtu.be/D9KzwlVkECw

Director Frank Beauvais [Compilation, 12 instants d’amour non partagé (2007); Je flotterai sans envie (2008)]  has made a very unique and innovative kind of audio-visual diary, combining fragments from hundreds of films with a very personal account of a period of self-imposed exile from Paris to rural Alsace.

He says: “January 2016. The love story that brought me to this village in Alsace where I live ended six months ago. At 45, I am now alone, without a car, a job or any real prospects, surrounded by luxuriant nature, the proximity of which is not enough to calm the deep distress into which I am plunged. France, still in shock from the November terror attacks, is in a state of emergency. I feel helpless, I suffocate with contained rage. I am lost and I watch four to five films a day. I decide to record this stagnation, not by picking up a camera but by editing shots from the stream of films I watch.”

Frank Beauvais’s intimate, beautiful and disturbing film essay assembles excerpts from the 400-plus films the French director watched over a four-month period of seclusion in Alsace in 2016. On the soundtrack, Beauvais speaks of the breakup that led to his retreat, the estranged father with whom he bonded over cinema just before his death, and the toxic symptoms of our current cultural climate.

Beauvais’s montage – composed of both international classics and obscurities – shows small but specific details, reframing otherwise incidental images into a difficult and moving reflection on life, love, and loss.

Each clip – lasting three to four seconds – provides visuals to Beauvais’s tortured voiceover. He explains how after the break-up, drinking too much and not sleeping, he filled his 18-hour days with his ‘five a day film bulimia’, watching everything from Elf (2003) to Éric Rohmer.

Excerpts from different movies he pieces together include Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World, Joseph Losey’s M, Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, Bertrand Bonnello’s Nocturama, Josef Von Sternberg’s An American Tragedy and John Carpenter’s Christine, all 400-plus meticulously listed in the end credits. They accompany his introspective narrative about how he found himself living alone in a part of eastern France that he is unflattering about.

You wish for an accompanying website giving more details of all the films from ‘classics’ (Lubitsch, Renoir, De Sica) to B-movies, thrillers and Giallo flicks to lesser known directors (Dušan Hanák, Kurt Steinwendner, Patricio Kaulen) across every genre and era.


Topically Frank Beauvais seems to be asking – How does one put heartbreak, social isolation, and concerns about the world into images and into words? In this memoir film he poses the key question: Is cinema an escape from reality or a means to better understanding?


Streaming on MUBI

Images courtesy of Kimstim