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Cinema of France

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Remembering That Time in the 90s When Disney Hired a Pedophile To Direct a Movie

 When people think of a pederast or sexually deviant film director, they are likely to imagine Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old or Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter. But those stories are a bit tired and cliched now, so, for those with a thirst for horrible stories about film men abusing their power, we present mid-budget journeyman director Victor Salva. In 1989, Salva was jailed after molesting the 12-year-old star of his first feature film, the low-budget horror thriller Clownhouse.

Salva has said that the idea of making a horror movie like Clownhouse had been on his mind for some time, and when you watch it, you can see why. The plot’s victims are three pre-pubescent brothers, led by debutant Sam Rockwell, who spend their time running hysterically around their enormous suburban house getting terrorised by sadistic escaped lunatics dressed as circus clowns (the leader is called “Cheezo”).

As a concept, it’s pretty basic, though the nightmare’s enlivened by a constant, thrumming undercurrent of high school homoeroticism, which manifests itself in lingering crotch-shots and constant close-ups of half-naked teens. It’s basically as terrifying as you’d expect a film about murderous, child-killing clowns directed by a pedophile to be.

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Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo on the set of "Une femme est une femme"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Paul Belmondo on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Dorothée Blanck on the set of "Lola"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


Claude Mann and Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Filming Jean-Luc Godard's classic film "À bout de souffle" at Orly Airport, Paris.


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


Jean Luc Godard and Raoul Coutard on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jeanne Moreau and François Truffaut on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Françoise Dorléac on the set of "La Peau douce"


Jacques Demy and Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


François Truffaut on the set of "La Peau douce"


François Truffaut and Françoise Dorléac on the set of "La Peau douce"


On the set of "Jules et Jim"


Jeanne Moreau and François Truffaut on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Oskar Werner and Henri Serre on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


On the set of "À bout de souffle"


On the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre on the set of "Jules et Jim"

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The insider-outsider dichotomy is central to artists approaching cultures other than their own, and few have engaged this so perceptively—even prophetically—as the French anthropological filmmaker Jean Rouch. He is best known for Chronicle of a Summer, made in collaboration with sociologist Edgar Morin in Paris in 1960. The work is renowned for its unprecedented level of self-reflexivity and subject participation—a sort of marriage between the early visual anthropologist Robert Flaherty and Dziga Vertov, who invited subjects and audiences to understand the filmmaking process. But it wasn’t his hometown of Paris, but rather Africa, where Rouch began his career as a civil engineer and made most of his films.

“One of the things that amazed me always with the films was that on one hand there was something with the community there, but you could also feel him as a stranger,” said José Pedro Cortes, the 34-year-old Portuguese photographer and publisher who named his recent solo exhibition Moi, Un Blanc (“I, a White”) after Rouch’s celebrated film Moi, Un Noir. Last year, influenced by Rouch, Cortes traveled from his native Lisbon to an area of Mali known as the Dogon. “I don’t pretend to photograph a particular community,” Cortes explains, “but I’m more interested in how we actually perceive the people that live there and how we feel this strangeness.” Indeed, the photographs of Moi, Un Blanc hinge upon a fascinating tension between intimacy and inaccessibility. Subjects are photographed from extremely close range, at leisure, or in private areas such as bed and living rooms, and yet the viewers feel a great distance from faces turned from the camera or just out of frame. Landscapes and still lifes alike offer little context; the viewer is perhaps as puzzled as Cortes was during his initial encounter.

In 2008, Cortes and his friend started Pierre von Kleist Editions, an artist-run publisher specializing in photo books. The small company recently printed the photographer’s latest book, Things Here and Things Still to Come, exploring the lives of four U.S.-born Jewish women who decided to undergo military service in Israel and decided to stay. Unlike them, Cortes remains on the move—restlessly curious, a professional outsider following a sympathetic lens.

José Pedro Cortes is a photographer based in Portugal. See more of his work here. Other titles published by Pierre von Kleist Editions are available here.

With additional reporting by Jon Dieringer of Screen Slate.

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We, french game designers, developers and animators, tend to look overseas to japan and praise the work of Ueda and Miyazaki, when they tend to look overseas in the other direction and praise the work of Grimault and St Exupery...

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