Luc Moullet and Antonietta Pizzorno, anatomy of a cinema couple

Luc Moullet and Antonietta Pizzorno, anatomy of a cinema couple

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They are both sitting in their Parisian apartment, perched on the fifth floor of an old building. Luc Moullet on a chair, Antonietta Pizzorno on a stool, close to him, which allows him to tap his companion’s arm to remind him of a story, or to mime a little slap when he annoys him too much.

Luc Moullet, born in 1937, always gets away with a pirouette, in every sense of the word. His burlesque cinema, developed after his period of criticism at Cahiers du cinéma , alongside Truffaut, Godard, Rivette, has aged more than well, and continues to be screened at festivals. Hilarious spectators ask for more, especially since this laughter is political, scratching consumerist society, the dogma of work, denouncing postcolonialism even on the plate – notably in Genesis of a Meal (1978). This time, the retrospective, organized by the production company La Traverse, from Wednesday January 31, in theaters in Paris and the region, will allow us to (re)discover ten feature films and eleven restored shorts. The title is apt: “Moullet, youth! “.

The director gets up, wearing jeans and vegan sneakers, and examines the poster with his clear-eyed gaze: “I’m still entering my eighty-seventh year,” he says, deadpan. Antonietta Pizzorno, ten years younger, began working with the director as a scriptwriter, on A Billy the Kid Adventure (1971), with Jean-Pierre Léaud, shortly after their meeting. When was that again? “July 1969” , replies the filmmaker. ” Are you sure ? » In any case, it was at the Rimini Festival, on the Italian Adriatic coast, where Moullet presented Les Contrebandières (1968).

“Roles of complainers”

Antonietta Pizzorno has always led her own projects in the theater, or in experimental cinema, while collaborating on her partner’s films. Born in Genoa in 1947, she moved to Paris after studying foreign languages and literature, completing her thesis on cinema and the New Novel. A theater actress, she attended evening classes at Vincennes University, collaborated with the artist Gina Pane (1939-1990) on performances, and, later, discovered the world of storytelling. “We each had our own lives until we moved in together after the birth of our daughter in 1983,” she says.

The actress is not there to promote. About her work with Luc Moullet, Antonietta Pizzorno has mixed feelings. Actress in The Comedy of Work (1987), or The Prestige of Death (2005), she makes this observation: “You often gave me the roles of a complainer. » He responds, straight away: “It’s to keep the couple going.” Besides, this morning, we argued about the reels that we should send to a film library. » The tandem has always lived with piles of film reels at home. Now they are trying to distribute them to cinema libraries, with a view to ensuring their preservation.

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