Powell & Pressburger and Jean Eustache. The 36th Torino Film Festival – 23 November through 1 December 2018 - will dedicate two retrospectives to these filmmakers. Numbering among cinema’s greatest visionaries, Michael Powell (English director and producer) and Emeric Pressburger (Hungarian-born writer) constructed a run of films between the late 1930s and the early 1960s that engaged the viewer’s subconscious. The cinema of Powell & Pressburger, “The Archers” (as their production company was known) of desire, passion, and excess, fascinated and influenced filmmakers of later generations like Scorsese, De Palma, and Coppola.

The retrospective will show the 20 films they made together: an odd war film which garnered Pressburger an Oscar for Best Story (49th Parallel), a romantic fresco and favorite of Bertrand Tavernier (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp), obsessive pursuit of passion (Black Narcissus), hallucinatory comings and goings in the Netherworld (Stairway to Heaven, aka A Matter of Life and Death), luxuriant demonism (The Tales of Hoffmann), plus several films Powell made alone, including Peeping Tom, his cursed masterpiece.

The Festival shows its hardnosed, gaunt, moral, “entomological” side in the retrospective of a French filmmaker who died too young (in his early 40s in 1981) and is too often forgotten: Jean Eustache. “Kid brother” of the Nouvelle Vague auteurs, he made his directorial debut with the uncompleted short film La Soirée and then went on to make medium-length and feature films including Mes petites amoureuses, Une sale histoire, and La maman et la putain (1973), a masterpiece on the ineffectiveness of words, the vagueness of feelings, emptiness, bodies, and the essential morality of cinema.

He was often marginalized by the mainstream industry because less obliging and more “cruel” than the Nouvelle Vague masters, enamored of Bresson’s rigor and Renoir’s vigor. Eustache never stopped exploring the dynamics between the apparent realism of the inquisitive camera and the fiction that occurs as soon as the camera starts to roll, between autobiography and representation. His malaise and his analytical skills have influenced such contemporary filmmakers as Assayas, Denis, Desplechin, and Jarmusch. The retrospective will show all his films.


TFF 2018