Jean-Jacques Rousseau (director)

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Belgian absurdist film director

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (16 December 1946 – 5 November 2014) was a Belgian absurdist film director. He defended "popular" cinema, filming with very small budgets (2000 to 2500 per film), and using unknown or non-professional actors. He called himself the director of the absurd.[citation needed]


He was born in Souvret, Belgium (Courcelles) and died in Montigny-le-Tilleul.

His life was supposed to be the subject of a Yann Moix film, called Palme d'or, starring Benoît Poelvoorde.[1] The project was not filmed, Moix did make, without Poelvoorde, the disastrous Cinéman (fr).


Rousseau's first few films were fairly conventional examples of the fantasy genre. However, some of them won regional awards in the 1970s (people's choice, best screenplay), promising a bright future for the 20-year-old filmmaker.

A semi-permanent lack of financial resources prevented him from making technically accomplished films. However, he financed, edited, directed and acted in most of them.

Having a fertile imagination fueled by esoteric tastes in books, his films shunned the mainstream more and more, thus becoming marginalized. He never received subsidies to finance his films. Patrick Moriau, a Belgian politician, stated once that "If one asked me to allocate part of the Walloon Community's finances to the Committee for Film Selection, the money would undoubtedly never go into Rousseau's pockets. He may be a kind man, but his films are frankly wild and scare people."[citation needed]

Rousseau befriended the anarchist artist Noël Godin around a decade ago, and his technique has since improved considerably, making his films more accessible.[citation needed]


  • Igor Yaboutich (1964)
  • Le Poignard maudit (1965)
  • Les Malfaiteurs (1966)
  • La Vallée de la Sûre (1966)
  • L'Abstrait (1968)
  • Le Cauchemar (1969)
  • Germaine Grandieu (1972)
  • Les Compagnons de justice (1974)
  • Le Reposoir (1975)
  • Les Immortels (1975)
  • Catalepsie (1976)
  • L'étoile du mal (1977)
  • Dossier Réincarnation (1977)
  • Les Marcheurs de la grande armée (1978)
  • The Diabolical Dr. Flak (1978)
  • L'histoire du cinéma 16 (1983)
  • Cannes année européenne du cinéma (1988)
  • Ciné effet (1988)
  • Massacre au pied de biche
  • Les Incubes d'Escargnole
  • Xeno-Zenit
  • Furor Teutonicus (1999)
  • Road Movie (2001)
  • Wallonie 2084 (2003)
  • Irkutz 88 (2004)
  • La Revanche du sacristain cannibale (2004)
  • Le Chasseur de succubes (2005)
  • La mécanique du rasoir (2006)
  • L'invasion des succubes (2006)
  • Rock Mendès (2007)

Frédéric Sojcher's film Cinéastes à tout prix (fr), selected and shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, is dedicated to Rousseau's work as well as Max Naveaux's and Jacques Hardy's. It stars the actors Bouli Lanners and Benoît Poelvoorde.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ 30 nov 2004 Par Didier Verdurand (2004-11-30). "BenoĂŽt Poelvoorde (Narco)". Archived from the original on 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-17.