This richly illustrated book, which includes two unpublished texts by Fontaine as well as a preface and an afterword by Yann Beauvais—an emblematic figure of experimental cinema in France who has greatly contributed to the discovery of Fontaine's work—is a fascinating journey into the filmmaker's universe.
The two artists met in Light Cone's screening room to watch Fontaine's protean, ever-expanding filmography in chronological order. The long discussion that took place over the course of the screenings, shedding light on the creative processes and the aesthetic concerns that went into the making of each film, would become the primary material in the elaboration of this book.
Cécile Fontaine (born 1957 in south of France) grew up in the French oversea territory La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, before studying art both in France (1975-1979) and in Boston (1980-1986) where she started making films in 1982 after taking an evening film class at Massachussetts College of Art then registering full time at School of Museum of Fine Arts, majoring cinema. Returned in France in 1986, she lives since then in Paris, teaching art fulltime in a primary school and making films.
Since 1982, Cécile Fontaine has made over fifty films. Her body of work is a testament to one of the most unique practices within the constellation of experimental cinema: film conceived as collage—both painterly and cinematographic. She sees cinema as a medium to be worked in a material sense, a reservoir of images taken out of their original contexts, which she manipulates and subverts according to her own formal or semantic associations.
"Cécile Fontaine works with what can be called margins, the excluded parts of cinema, revindicating scratching, soaking, de-collage and so filmmaking passes as a primarily plastic activity, with almost no material resources, renewing at once with the first major steps of the Dadaists in their collage—principally in the works of Schwitters and especially the collage of Hannah Höch executed with a kitchen knife and the work of recycling or how to make art without having the air to have touched it." — Yann Beauvais
Yann Beauvais (born 1953 in France), as a teacher in United States, became conscious of the need to lead a "cultural battle". Filmmaker and film critic, he organizes experimental cinema events in France and other countries. After his film and philosophy studies, he became very influenced by contemporary art (Russian formalism and minimal structuralism) and learned music, as well as by his friendship with Paul Sharits. He strives to find a balance between formalism and lyricism. He himself explains that the common denominator between all his films is that they are all constructed according to the principle : "fragility" – "disappearance" – "disintegration". In 1982 he co-founds Light Cone with Miles McKane. Amongst others he has published : Musique film with Deke Dusinberre (1986), Mots : dites, image with Miles McKane (1988), Poussières d'images (1998), and Monter/Sampler with Jean-Michel Bouhours (2000).