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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Les Belles Manieres

Fortnight 1978, Feature film, 1h30


The story related in « Les Belles Manières » is not an usual news item nor does it pretend to be an exemplary fable. Its respects the autonomy and the particular color of each persons as it refuses the charms of that which is anecdotic and the pitfalls of that which is natural. The only line around which I developped the intrigue yields to a feeling which imposed itself as the story progresses. That feeling can be sum up in a few questions : what does the relations a liberal regime maintains with its subjects look like ? Do they have an ambiguous nature ? To what outcome do those relations lead ? I embodied liberal power in a woman who is played by Hélène Surgère. Her power is her seduction and not her repressive possibilities which became invisible behind the image of charm constantly in operation. I do not know if this strategy of power is a priori conscious. By not containing it in a postulate, I better observe its different manifestations : it is a question of power, open, not dogmatic, evolving with the general movement of morals wich agitates the air we breathe. I hope that these few words do not seem like guidelines or formal summons. It is beyond, over the edge of words, that the film begins. I do not try to convince but to bother. In the place of an intimidating modernism of complex form, I prefer a sertting of simple contours, never forgetting the words of Cocteau : « One closes the eyes of the dead with gentleness ; it is also with gentleness that the eyes of the living should be opened. » Jean-Claude GUIGUET


Jean-Claude Guiguet

Born in 1939, Jean-Claude Guiguet was cinema critic in several magazines like « Image et Son » from 1970 to 1975 ; from 1975 to 1977, he wrote the cinema column in « La Nouvelle Revue Française » (Gallimard). He was Paul Vecchiali’s assistant on « Femmes-Femmes » (1974) and « Change pas Demain » (1975), set and costume designer on Jean-Claude Biette’s « Le Théâtre des matières ». « Les Belles Manières » is his first long feature.

Emmanuel Lemoine
Hélène Surgère
Hervé Duhamel
Martine Simonet

Jean-Claude Guiguet

Georges Strouve

Paul Vecchiali

Production : DIAGONALE