With Et j’aime à la fureur, André Bonzel invites us to live an extraordinary experience in a film made up entirely of amateur film reels. A journey through his personal and family history, in theaters April 20. Focus.
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What does it talk about ?
Ever since he was a child, André Bonzel has had a passion for amateur films. The hundreds of reels he collects allow him to build up, image by image, the fragmented history of his family, sometimes filling in the gaps with what he guesses or fantasizes about. He saw his first love affairs and his family dramas through these films retracing his life, that of his loved ones, and even that of strangers.
It is from this passion that the film is created, before our eyes, as when we are looking through the boxes of an old dusty attic. It not only offers a reflection on deep themes such as family, evolution and personal fulfillment, but also more philosophical subjects such as our relationship to cinema, to the perception of images or to memories.
The co-director of a cult film
If his name is not familiar to you, it is because André Bonzel is a discreet filmmaker. Director of short documentaries, his first feature film became cult: It happened near you, released in 1992.
In this black and white mockumentary parody of the TV show Strip-tease, we follow the wanderings of a serial killer played by Benoît Poelvoorde. It is moreover the Belgian actor, always very close to the director since their studies of cinema, who advised him to create an entire film from his personal collection.
A family marked by the 7th art
Et j’aime à la fureur tells the story of its narrator and director André Bonzel, tracing the thread of his family history, already closely linked to cinema. On March 22, 1895, his great-great-grandfather Maurice, an engineer and close friend of the Lumière brothers, was at the very first cinematographic screening in history, that of The Exit of the Workers of the Lumière Factory.
From then on, the love for capturing moving images became central to the family’s life. The taste for cinema is transmitted to many of Maurice’s descendants, sometimes skipping generations, like that of André’s father, who is not moved by cinematographic magic.
A pool of pharaonic images
If Et j’aime à la fureur dure 1h37, its first editing reached 3h30. It is therefore easy to imagine the astronomical collection of reels that André Bonzel has been able to build up over the years, thanks to heirlooms or second-hand goods.
If many very personal documents end up in the film, such as family memories or vacations, there are also less usual shots, such as images that have crossed continents and eras by miraculously surviving the pangs of time. In order to create the film, the collection was entirely digitized: a work of magnitude offering a unique work allowing the subjects to continue to live through the film.
An original soundtrack by Benjamin Biolay
The challenge for a feature film made up solely of silent images is to create a soundtrack for it. Although André Bonzel’s voice narrates his story perfectly and a few sound effects provide the contextual atmosphere of the images, it is still necessary to put everything to music.
For this, the director called on the talented Benjamin Biolay, who produced almost all of the soundtrack. Composed in accordance with the images, the film’s music makes it possible to capture the feelings that emerge from it, even the most fleeting ones, and perfectly complements this extraordinary film, to be discovered from April 20 at the cinema.