A list of French Avant-Garde filmmakers whose works you are now familiar with:
Born in Tangier, Morocco, Manadar rose to preeminence in the genre following the 1976 release of his third film “La souffrance est la sufferance”, the plot of which concerned the nameless, faceless narrator’s attempt to come to grips with the failure of his uncle’s career in NASCAR. Manadar continued to crap out highly-regarded work throughout the ’70s and ’80s, culminating in his Golden Buttflap award at the 1987 Zurich Film-Liebhaberpartei for “J’avais l’habitude d’être un personne”, which charted the growth of several shrubs native to the Uzbek steppes, and juxtaposed that with sexual assault. Manadar continues to make short films under a rotating series of assumed names, but due to his expulsion from the Film Ligue de Napoléon (who were jealous of his France-wide success), he is unable to release his films in a format viewable by bipeds. Unknown to most, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was merely one of Manadar’s disguises.
Christodou “U” Breziere
Breziere’s work first began appearing in cinemathequeopolitronesses in 1973, when he attained instant fame for “Je ne suis pas celui qui respire”, an animated snuff film in which a protagonist named for Breziere attempts to acknowledge his fascination with pinching womens’ noses. The work was shown to over 40,000 people each day, and a still from the film remains on the city flag of Moche-Metz, in the Rhône valley. The bulk of Breziere’s subsequent work is composed of a series of grouchy reminiscences on the transient popularity of the Avant-Garde filmmaker, the most notable of which is 1979’s “Salauds! Pourquoi ne pas regarder mes films?” Breziere has since retired, and lives with his robotic fiancée Robertiñho in a houseboat on the Charente.
The Belgian émigré’s first film, 1977’s “Regardez mon cul, pleurnichards”, was notable for being the first film to depict an overweight, irate man’s existential suffering. The manner in which it did so, by having the protagonist scream bizarrely-specific insults at the camera for six hours, resulted in immense critical praise for Wallenhuis, but the film met with limited commercial success. “I made ten francs from the entire fucking thing”, he claimed in a 1994 interview with “Belgian Losers”, a program on Nederlandse Publieke Omroep’s Radio 5. Wallenhuis quit the film business after failing to secure funding for any further projects, and spent the ’80s and ’90s as a bookkeeper specializing in bets on the success or failure of the Russian Mir space station. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Un clone de Serge Manadar
Popularly known as “Un Clone,” Un clone de Serge Manadar was the result of a French government project to encourage the adoption of French culture in Algeria in the years following that country’s independence. Un Clone was a direct clone of Serge Manadar, and, with the backing of the Ministère de la Culture, produced a staggering amount of films in the late ’70s, including “J’ai peur de Pierre”, “L’ennui morne matin”, and “Donc, très solitaire, dans cette foul”. However, the cloning process was imperfect, and cellular degradation began to take hold. Un Clone’s final films (“Me regarder dissoudre” and “Sexe avec le cadavre de Georges Pompidou”) have been written off as confusing and literalist. Un Clone dissolved on March 23rd, 1980.
The reclusive director of “Je suis triste du coude” had a troubled childhood in Paris’ 7400th Arrondissement, before escaping in a barley train to join a traveling accounting firm (a journey detailed in 1973’s “La douleur est le seul bonheur”). He was a well-regarded accountant on film and television productions, but longed to direct. After stealing several cameras, lenses, and actors from one of “U” Breziere’s productions, Barbé-Marbois made a string of filmotropic maladies that were released straight to shadow puppet reenactors before finding success with 1975’s “Merde est le ciel, merde est mon coeur”, the unexpected sensation of the year’s award shows. Barbé-Marbois, finding that success had made him money, immediately burned all his film stock, and declared that he would, from that point, “only do unpopular things, like murder, or fiscal irregularities”. Depressed by the contemplation of success, Barbé-Marbois’ last moment of notability was a defection into East Germany, where he achieved recognition in the country’s literary underground for his publication of “Meine Traurigkeit ist Komplette”, a novel that could only be read while submerged in mineral oil.