Nicolas Philibert Retrospective

Back to Normandy

Nicolas Philibert
Screening time  
04.03. / Petak, 17:00 - 19:00 Dvorana 1  
Over thirty years ago, Philibert worked as an assistant to film director René Allio on a movie version of an influential book compiled by Michel Foucault: ‘I, Pierre Rivière’.

It was a reconstruction of three apparently senseless murders in 1835 by a seemingly half-witted, young Norman peasant. The state officials and middle-class figures were played by actors (one of them Philibert’s father) and the peasants by local, working-class nonprofessionals. Philibert returned to the old locations to reminisce with the now middle-aged or elderly actors about the way it affected their lives. Most of them have nothing but happy memories, but slowly it appears that some of the participants had their own issues with the law, power and mental health.

Nicolas Philibert

Nicolas Philibert was born in 1951 in Nancy (France). After studying philosophy, he turned to film and became an assistant director, notably for René Allio, Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta. In 1978, with Gérard Mordillat, he co-directed his first documentary feature, His Master’s Voice (La voix de son maître) in which a dozen bosses of leading industrial groups talk about control, hierarchy and power, gradually sketching out the image of a future world ruled by the financial sector…From 1985 to 1987, Nicolas Philibert shot various mountaineering and sports adventure films for television (Christophe, Trilogy for One Man, Go For It, Lapébie!, Baquet’s Come Back) then started directing documentary features that would all obtain a theatrical release: Louvre City (La ville Louvre, 1990), In the Land of the Deaf (Le pays des sourds, 1992), Animals (Un animal, des animaux, 1995), Every Little Thing (La Moindre des choses, 1996), at the La Borde psychiatric clinic, as well as a film essay pitched between documentary and fiction, with the students of the school of the Strasbourg National Theatre: Who Knows? (Qui sait ?, 1998). In 2001, he directed To Be and to Have (Etre et avoir), about daily life in a «single class» school in a mountain village in the heart of the Massif Central (France). Screened as part of the Official Selection at the 2002 Cannes Festival, Prix Louis Delluc 2002, the film was a huge success in France and around forty other countries. In his recent film, Back to Normandy (Retour en Normandie, 2007), he returned to the settings of I, Pierre Rivère, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister and My Brother… by René Allio, the director who allowed him to take his first steps in film.

General sponsor

Retour en Normandie

2007, 113', color, video

Directed by:
Nicolas Philibert

Katell Djian, Nicolas Philibert

Edited by:
Nicolas Philibert

André Veil, Jean-Philippe Viret

Serge Lalou

Produced by:
Les Films d’Ici, Maia Films, ARTE