Retrospective: Colette Piault Colette
Piault, born in Paris, received a doctorate at the Sorbonne in 1963. She has conducted
fieldwork in West Africa, France and Greece. Her first film, Albertine
et Dorcas, was shot in the Ivory Coast in 1966 while simultanously
working on a different ethnographic project under the direction of Jean Rouch.
The film Le Brouck
(1972) investigates agricultural structures and economic changes in France, in
the department Pas de Calais.
Several of her films focus on rural life in Greece.She started to work in a village in Epirus in 1974 and shot in 16mm a
series of six films about aspects of migration from the point of view of the
deserted village, trying to carefully observe the pace of the events and daily
life rather than to restructure them through a commentary or other devices.
Piault is presently honorary Director of Research at CNRS (Paris, France). She created the French
Association for Visual Anthropology in 1985 of which she is still President.
She has published several papers in French and English about her field work and
visual anthropology. She created and organized an annual international research
film seminar, "Looking at European Societies" between 1982 and 1992;
she has worked as a lecturer at the Anthropology Department at the University
of Paris X-Nanterre (1995-1998) has been a member of the selection committees for
the festivals at Göttingen (1993-1996) and Nuoro since 1988.
her films in universities and international film festivals in several different
countries such as, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, NewZealand, Norway, Poland, Roumania, Russia, South Africa, Sweeden, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom, USA...
My Family and me, 75 min, 1986
Shot over four years, the film shows one specific aspect of migration:
family relationships. Thanassakis, a 13-year-old boy, is staying with his
grandparents in the Greek village of Ano Ravenia, while his parents
stay with his younger brother in Zurich, Switzerland. It was filmed
during three periods: winter in the village, summer in the village (while his
parents, as most migrants, come back for the holidays), and Christmas in Zurich when the grandfather
and the young boy visit their family. Because of the closeness which developed
between the crew and the family, the documentary often resembles a fiction
film; it attempts to understand the family relationships not through interviews
but following and filming moments of daily life, showing their emotional family
atmosphere. Only during the last shot does the filmmaker ask a question
directly to a member of the family: Who is most important to the young boy –
his father or grandfather? The father responds with unexpected precision.
Everyday is not a Feast day, 110 min, 1994
Every Day is Not a Feast Day is a chronicle of
the daily life in Ano Ravenia, a mountain village in Greece. Although the
village appears to be virtually self-sufficient, the truth is that its
economical, social, and family life depends on the outer world to a great
extent. Like many mountain villages, Ano Ravenia, has been progressively
deserted by it most active population. The film shows the painful
transformation from the holiday feasts and the temporary return of those who
have left to live elsewhere to the monotony and calm of daily life. Without any
commentary, the film respects the daily pace of the villagers.
Let's get married, 35 min, 1985
who was raised in Greece but lived with her aunt Martha’s family in Martin,
Tennessee met Demetrios who was living and working with his father in the Greek
village of Ano Ravenia. While she was on holiday, they fell in love and
married. This observational film follows this Greek-American wedding day in the
manner of a home movie shot by professional filmmakers. Delimited, natural, and
spontaneous, the film reveals the American influence on Greek culture through
behaviors, attitudes, and language.
Thread of the Needle, 25 min, 1982
Ano Ravenia, a mountain village in Greece, young men leave to find work,
learn a trade or serve in the Army while a young woman may leave her father’s
house only to enter that of her husband. The unmarried girls remain in the
village amoung the elderly folk, meeting together to embroider their trousseaus
and chat. In a rural Greek community, it is not the role of women to express
their point of view in public. The film allows the spectator to sit in one of
these casual sewing sessions where the girls talk about their wishes and
problems, most of which revolve around marriages that will change their lives.