Philippe Grandrieux

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Philippe Grandrieux
Philippe Grandrieux 2009-01a.jpg
Grandrieux presenting Sombre in Paris in 2009
Born1954 (age 64–65)
OccupationFilm director

Philippe Grandrieux (born 1954) is a French film director and screenwriter.

Life and career[edit]

Grandrieux was born in Saint-Étienne.[1] He studied film at the INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle) in Belgium. He exhibited his first video work at Galerie Albert Baronian, Bruxelles. In the 1980s, he worked in collaboration with the French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) and the television channel La Sept/Arte where he helped develop new cinematographic forms and formats that called into question some basic principles of film writing: for instance, the conventions behind documentary, information and film essays. In 1990, he created the film research lab “Live” which produced one-hour-long sequences by Thierry Kuntzel, Robert Kramer and Robert Frank...

Since 2005, programs devoted to Grandrieux's features (Sombre, La Vie nouvelle, Un lac), installations, video, documentary work and shorts have been broadcast all over the world.

2012 / 2013 Philippe Grandrieux is Visiting Fiction Film Professor at Harvard University (USA) / In progress, a feature film Fever and a film/installation Meurtrière.


Grandrieux's work covers several cinematographic fields – TV experimentation, video art, research movie, film essay, documentary and museum exhibition. His uncompromised vision of Art, leads him to push the boundaries of the cinematographic fields he is working on. As a consequence, he is always producing an inventive and radical cinema. His first two full-feature movies Sombre (which won an award at the Locarno Film Festival) and La Vie Nouvelle (A New Life) are examples of Grandrieux's creativity in photography, sound and narration. Following the work of Teinosuke Kinugasa, Jean Epstein and Pier Paolo Pasolini who were constantly looking for and inventing new narrative forms that would only fit films, Grandrieux's films, deriving from horror movies and experimental movies, give the viewer intense sensorial experiences. His goal is to make the viewer psychologically involved in his movies. Its films actually express a whole world of energies based on sensations and affects despite a linear narration and an iconography that relies on archetypes that refer to the archaic images of the fairy tale and the legend. Tim Palmer situates Grandrieux's work within an ongoing tendency of a cinema of the body, linked to other filmmakers such as Marina de Van, Diane Bertrand, Damien Odoul.[2]

For his soundtrack, he worked with Alan Vega (on Sombre) and with the musicians, poets and performers of the band Etant Donnés (on A New Life).

The American actor Zachary Knighton played the main character with Anna Mouglalis. The writer Eric Vuillard also participated in the writing of the script of A New Life. A part of the email exchange between Grandrieux and Vuillard about the script has been published in the French film review Trafic.

Published also: "La Vie nouvelle/nouvelle Vision, à propos d'un film de Philippe Grandrieux," under the direction of Nicole Brenez, Paris, Ed. Léo Scheer, février 2005. With texts from – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Raymond Bellour, Nicole Brenez, Sothean Nhieim, Fabien Gaffez, Serge Kaganski , Augustin Gimel, Lionel Soukaz, Adrian Martin, Vincent Amiel, Peter Tscherkassky… This book including a DVD of La Vie nouvelle.

The psychanalist Jean-Claude Polack declares about Grandrieux's movies that they “carefully try to understand the exact inner-working of one's psychic, and more especially the part that deals with desire and transformation. How does desire work? What are the elements that this energy-matter is using to expand its empire? What are the social repressions that desire has to face? Unlike Pasolini who is really interested in the way that society is theatrically transforming the ceremony of predating into a show, there is here an experimental cinema; it is true; that is trying to register, thanks to the camera, what humans eyes would never be able to see in order to deconstruct and analyze reality. Grandrieux's films are analytical films, like a microscope, that give the viewer the possibility to see more accurately what is movement, emotion, sensation, colour, darkness and the emergence of the image (either material or thought). What is the process that enables something to become an image in the dark? Why can this process only be seen as a threat?”[3]

In 2006, Grandrieux appeared in Sarah Bertrand's documentary There is no direction.

In 2007, the singer Marilyn Manson, who admits having seen La Vie nouvelle several times, asked Grandrieux to direct his video-clip for his song Putting Holes in Happiness that belongs to the album Eat Me, Drink Me.

In 2008, Japan paid homage to Grandrieux's work, thanks to the French Ambassy, in the famous Uplink movie theater of Tokyo, under the title "Extreme Love - around Philippe Grandrieux".

The same year, the Tate Modern of London, along the retrospective "PARADISE NOW ! Essential French Avant-Garde cinema 1890-2008," played Putting Holes in Happiness, A New Life, The Late Season and an excerpt of Un Lac (A Lake), his latest movie, which was not completed back then.

Un Lac, was ready for the 65th Venice Film Festival (2008) where he won a Special Mention in the Orrizzonti Section which rewards movies that initiate new cinematographic trends.[4]

In 2011, his documentary It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve - Masao Adachi (PG co-author of the project with Nicole Brenez) has been programmed in more than 35 festivals… and was awarded at: CPH:DOX Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival / Denmark. The NEW:VISION AWARD that aims at promoting the experimental documentary in the field between documentary and art was given to Philippe Grandrieux's documentary about the Japanese filmmaker Masao Adachi. The jury highlighted the film's interweaving of Adachi's aesthetic concerns with the social and political histories he lived through. 'Rather than a typical director/subject relationship, this is a collaboration between both directors, where authorship moves back and forth,' the jury's motivation said." Awarded also in June 2012 at: Festival Côté Court, Pantin, Seine-Saint-Denis, France: GRAND PRIX EXPÉRIMENTAL - ESSAI - ART VIDÉO

2012, Philippe Grandrieux most recent film/installation White Epilepsy has been programmed at FID Marseille, UNDERDOX Munich, FNC Montréal within a retrospective devoted to PG with all his features, documentaries… and in 2013 at the IFFR Rotterdam, LINCOLN CENTER New York, FICUNAM Mexico then Istanbul, Lima, Edinburgh, Wroclaw...

His work has been influenced by the work of Edmond Bernhard, his teacher at the INSAS, Murnau, Robert Bresson, Straub–Huillet, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Stan Brakhage and also by his readings of Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze's work.



  • Bellour, Raymond, "Pour Sombre," Trafic, no. 28 (Winter 1998), P.O.L.
  • ———. "Des corps renouvellés" Trafic 44 (Winter 2002), P.O.L.
  • ———. "Le Futur antérieur" Trafic 70 (Summer 2009), P.O.L.
  • Beugnet, Martine. Cinema and sensation: French film and the art of transgression, Edinburgh University Press, UK, 2007.
  • Brenez, Nicole. "Jeune, dure et pure ! Une histoire du cinéma d'avant-garde et expérimental en France". Cinémathèque française/ Mazzotta, 2001.
  • ———, ed. La Vie nouvelle/nouvelle Vision, à propos d'un film de Philippe Grandrieux, Léo Scheer, Paris, February 2005.
  • With articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Raymond Bellour, Nicole Brenez, Sothean Nhieim, Fabien Gaffez, Serge Kaganski , Augustin Gimel, Lionel Soukaz, Adrian Martin, Vincent Amiel, Peter Tscherkassky.
  • Blümlinger, Christa. "L'Au-delà des visages." Parachute 123 (2006).
  • Martin, Adrian, "Unfinished diary" À propos de la projection de Un lac au festival de Las Palmas, Rouge, March/April 2009
  • Rondeau, Corinne. "Sombre, la surface et la chair à propos d'un film de Philippe Grandrieux," Cinéma et inconscient, éditions Champs Vallon, France, 2001.
By Philippe Grandrieux
  • 2000 – "Sur l'horizon insensé du cinéma," Cahiers du cinéma, November 2000.
  • 2002 – Philippe Grandrieux and Eric Vuillard, "Correspondance sur La Vie nouvelle," Trafic 44, POL, Winter 2002.
  • 2005 – La Vie nouvelle/nouvelle Vision, Paris, Editions Leo Scheer.
  • 2005 – Text and photographies for "Le Teaser" 9, Metronome Press.
  • 2005 – Photographies for Jean-Luc Godard-Documents, Centre Pompidou, contribution to the catalogue for "Voyage en utopie, Jean-Luc Godard, 1946-2006"
  • 2005 – Texte et photographies. In Mettray 9, edited by Didier Morin.
  • 2012 – "Congo," Trafic 83, POL, Fall 2012.
  • 2012 – "Les Morts," Trafic 84, POL, Winter 2012.
  • 2014 – "La Première image," Cahiers du cinéma, May 2014.
  • 2015 – "Philippe Grandrieux à propos d'Ariane Labed," Possession Immédiate # 3, p. 62.
  • Bonnaud, Frédéric. Les Inrockuptibles 183 (January–February 1999).
  • Baecque, Antoine de and Thierry Jousse. Cahiers du cinéma 532 (February 1999).
  • Baldassari, Lorenzo. Lo Specchio Scuro / (Fall 2015). philippe-grandrieux-intervista-grandrieux/ online
  • ———. Lo Specchio Scuro (January 2016). online
  • Béghin, Cyril, Stéphane Delorme and Mathias Lavin. Balthazar 4 (September 2000).
  • Brenez, Nicole. Rouge / 2003, no. 1. online
  • François, Elisabeth and Frédéric Bas. Chronic'Art (2002)
  • Habib, André. Interview made during the retrospective of Philippe Grandrieux's work, organised by Hors champ during le festival du nouveau cinéma à Montréal (October 2012). online
  • Goudet, Stéphane and Vassé, Claire. Positif 456 (February 1999).
  • Kaganski, Serge and Bertrand Loutte. Les Inrockuptibles 366 (November–December 2002).
  • Lipkes, Tatiana. "13 entrevitas a cineastas contemporaneos" ed. Mangos de Hacha, 2010
  • Momcilovic ,Jérôme Momcilovic. Chronic'Art 53 (2008)
  • Morin, Didier. Mettray 1 (Winter 2009).
  • Masotta, Cloe. Cinetranit (29 May 2010). online
  • Sardes, Guillaume de. Prussian blue 4 (Spring 2013).


  1. ^ Frédéric Zarch, Dictionnaire historique du cinéma de Saint-Étienne, PU, Saint-Étienne, 2008, p 81.
  2. ^ Tim Palmer, Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema, Wesleyan University Press, Middleton CT, 2011. ISBN 0-8195-6827-9.
  3. ^ La Vie nouvelle/nouvelle Vision, Editions Leo Scheer, Paris, 2005
  4. ^ [

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