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Living and Knowing You're Alive

Alain Cavalier
Être vivant et le savoir
France 2019 / 80’
Little Joe Long Day's Journey Into Night

We have been watching Alain Cavalier’s films at New Horizons for over a decade, starting with his famous Le filmeur (2005), which took part in the festival competition. Like Jonas Mekas, Cavalier is never without a digital camera. He shoots whatever is nearby and provides images with original commentary. As he ages, he has been increasingly recording the passage of time, contemplating, with unflagging interest, the changes it evokes. The material that we collect throughout our lives has always played a large role in his work. Today, his camera meanders between still lifes arranged from trinkets and decomposing vegetables and the intimate presence of people who practice disappearing. His latest video diary is dedicated to a friend, Emmanuèle Bernheim, the author of the autobiographical book Tout s'est bien passé, in which she talks about her father’s euthanasia. The initial idea of adapting her prose turns into a story about Emmanuèle’s passing. As the director himself says, his film is primitive like little Romanesque churches from centuries ago. There is nothing more to it than what actually happened.

Agnieszka Szeffel

Alain Cavalier

Alain Cavalier is a French director who was born in 1931. He studied at the L'Institut des hautes études cinématographiques, a famous film school in Paris, where Alain Resnais, Claire Denis, and Andrzej Żuławski also studied. As a protégé of Louis Malle, he worked as an assistant on  Elevator to the Gallows and  The Lovers. He began his professional career at the beginning of the 1960s with the film  Fire and Ice. His best-known and most acclaimed works include  Thérèse and  Le filmeur (The Filmmaker).

Selected filmography

1962 Pojedynek na wyspie / Le Combat dans l'île / Fire and Ice

1986 Teresa / Thérese

2005 Filmowiec / Le filmeur / The Filmaker

2009 Irène

2011 Pater

Cast & Crew

director Alain Cavalier
screenplay Emmanuèle Bernheim, Alain Cavalier
cinematography Alain Cavalier
editing Alain Cavalier
cast Alain Cavalier, Emmanuèle Bernheim
producer Alain Cavalier
production Camera One, Caméra One, Arte France Cinéma
language French
colouration colour