Detruisez-vous (Destroy Yourselves)
The first of the Zanzibar films, Détruisez-vous was also the debut work of Serge Bard, a student of ethnology at the University of Nanterre who had become disenchanted with the university system and abandoned his studies. Like Godard’s La Chinoise, which featured Anne Wiazemsky (herself a student at Nanterre at the time), the film is set in Nanterre where, just weeks before the student uprising in May 1968, Bard returned to shoot. Prefiguring the mounting militancy, Bard casts Alain Jouffroy as a professor and has him lecture in a nearly empty classroom on the necessity of revolution. —Sally Shafto
Dir. Serge Bard, 1969, digital presentation, 70 min.
With its title taken from Georges Bataille’s journal Acéphale (literally, a headless man, but figuratively expressing the need to go beyond rational ways of thinking), Deval’s film is the most literary of the Zanzibar works. The film opens with an illustrative image: a head in the process of being shaved, in close up. This image is accompanied not by the sound of an electric razor but an electric saw, suggesting the need to achieve a tabula rasa by radical means. The story follows the adventures of a young man and his friends as they wander through a barely recognizable post–May 1968 Paris. In documenting the by-gone expressions and gestures of the ’68 generation in France, Acéphale becomes something of an anthropological film that reveals the rites and beliefs of the ideological novitiates. —Sally Shafto
Dir. Patrick Deval, 1968, digital presentation, 65 min.
Co-presented by La Collectionneuse!