On The Subject Of Nice

Jean Vigo's reputation as a prodigy of the cinema rests on less than 200 minutes of film. His first venture, a silent documentary 23 minutes long, was A Propos de Nice and in it one can see immediately the energy and aptitude of this great talent. But A Propos de Nice is far more than a biographical curio; it is one of the last films to come out of the fertile era of the French avant-garde and it remains one of the best examples to illustrate the blending of formal and social impulses in that epoch. A Propos de Nice is an attempt to capture the variety and style of life in the south of France through a rapid montage of silent images – the sporting attractions, the café culture, relaxing in the sun, showing off the latest fashions and being seen walking along the Promenade des Anglais. Jean Vigo cunningly distorts the precepts of documentary in A Propos de Nice. Apparently a vision of summertime in the French Côte d’Azur, various strange juxtapositions and experimental camera techniques reveal a hole alternative side. It also looks at the other side, showing the conditions of the poorer residents. Both aspects are brought together in the preparations for the carnival, capturing life, laughter, joy and dancing alongside images of death, poverty and misery – interspersed with some non-documentary and humoristic touches. The film shows great imagination in its choice of subject and how it is presented, capturing the verve and essence of not just Nice, but life itself in 23 minutes.

Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo

Boris Kaufman

Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo

Marc Perrone

11th Festival on Wheels
CINEMA AND Anarchism