Home » Programme » Objects and Apparitions » Cécile Fontaine

Cécile Fontaine


Cécile Fontaine, born in the French overseas department of Réunion Island, gets the prodigy of materializing the most sublime plastic aspirations within a tiny film strip using the most humble domestic tools. With duct tape, various drug substances, scissors and punches, the most wonderful collages come to life. Movies (she has been making them since the 1980s, when she went to study to the Massachusetts College of Art) in which the color, shapes, textures and graphic elements of the materials used by Fontaine –from his father’s family films to all kinds of advertising, tourism and educational films– create formal and chromatic compositions of complex beauty that in a way, as Yann Beauvois wrote, work as stained glass. And in spite of the abstraction that means the use of found footage, the subject remains, in films that are in a sense like sticker albums of a parallel world. Often her titles are word games that mock about the main motif, iconic icing of every small universe they build. Here we have a panorama (in the nineteenth-century sense of the term) of Fontaine’s filmmaking.

Acknowledgements: Cécile Fontaine, Daniel A. Swarthnas

A Color Movie
Cécile Fontaine, 1983, super 8, 5 min.

One of the first visual experiments of Fontaine, in which she interweaves her own material filmed in super 8 (including a self-portrait) with home movies of her own family, a preliminary excursion to the aesthetic area she will go through in the future.

Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe
Cécile Fontaine, 1986, super 8, 1 min.

Another of Fontaine’s techniques is one of her first expressions: here she “peels” a layer of emulsion from a family film to put it back on celluloid, getting shades and colors of Impressionist painting, an evocation that also includes the wink to Manet present in the title of the film.

Cécile Fontaine, 1986, super 8, 3 min.

First experiment with another way of making films without camera: the manual exposure of the unexposed film to different light sources, in a hazardous game of abstraction.

3 Shorts
Cécile Fontaine, 1984, super 8, 6 min.

Three in one, an abstract of her films: L’atelier de peinture, filming of the workshop of a painter manipulated using bleach, with the emulsion displaced and with pieces of slides of 35mm. Then Church, a church literally treated with detergent. And Subject: Sound Color Picture, major format footage trimmed and perforated as super 8.

Mouvement N ° 2
Cécile Fontaine, 1983, super 8, 2 min.

Sweeps and rhythmic cuts in one of the few movies filmed by Fontaine, an assembly experiment with the streets of Boston as a base.

La Chambre Verte
Cécile Fontaine, 1984, super 8, 4 min.

Fontaine uses her own footage as if it were found footage, and applies a treatment of bleach and newsprint. As a result, a green room that has little to do with Truffaut’s.

Sans Titre: Mai
Cécile Fontaine, 1988, 16mm, 5 min.

A set of chromatic blends and hand-made overprints, without camera, which takes the breath away. Also an ecological allegory of how men impose on nature and destroy it.

Japan Series
Cécile Fontaine, 1991, 16mm, 7 min.

A master use of color separation made on found footage, this time using as a basis the recording of a representation of Japanese Butō dance.

Abstract Film en Couleurs
Cécile Fontaine, 1991, 16mm, 3 min.

Fontaine retakes the technique of Light and adds a new ingredient: she exposes the unexposed material through the window of the super 8 cartridge (original format of this film) to different light sources, this time putting pieces of film already existing between one and other.

La Pêche Miraculeuse
Cécile Fontaine, 1995, 16mm, 10 min.

A maritime, coastal and underwater movie, holidays in the sea thanks to the wonderful fishing of various materials of the theme that Fontaine orchestrates in delicious compositions.

Spaced Oddities
Cécile Fontaine, 2004, 16mm, 4 min.

This time the word game with Bowie’s song takes us through those “spaced oddities” of a scientific documentary on the microscopic life forms in the water, which in Fontaine’s hands becomes something halfway between an abstract animation and a choreography by Busby Berkeley.

Cross Worlds
Cécile Fontaine, 2006, 16mm, 15 min.

Crossed worlds, celluloid strips like boxes of a crossword puzzle. A vision of fabulous colors of what for Fontaine could be an ethnographic documentary, in which tourists and natives, leisure and work, are confused with considerable biting implications.

The Last Lost Shot
Cécile Fontaine, 1999, 16mm, 7 min.

The result of a commission on the theme “apocalypse”, a film about the struggle between violence and innocence inspired by the true story of the murder of a group of children at the hands of their own schoolmates in an American town.

Holy woods
Cécile Fontaine, 2008, 16mm, 8 min.

An almost Hollywood story is cooked up during this peaceful nap in a forest. Falling trees, snakes, insects and intrusive frames come to interrupt the development of the plot, of “that” plot.

Duration: 81 min. Sala (S8) PALEXCO – 3/06 – 16h.

Cecile Fontaine

Cecile Fontaine

Cecile Fontaine

Be Sociable, Share!