Frank Beauvais, rare films under the microscope

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After the time of confinement, that of revival seems to demand that life start again quickly and strongly. Rather deconfined on a gentle slope, back in his Paris roommate after three months with his family in Alsace, the filmmaker Frank Beauvais speaks with slow words. During confinement, he associated himself with the emergence of a makeshift utopia: it took shape on a Facebook group for the exchange of downloaded films called La Loupe, which he joined by invitation shortly after its creation. . First as a very active member, spending eighteen hours a day hunting around and sharing the works he stores on his hard drive. Then as administrator, and especially craftsman of a “More honest second life” for the group from which he took over the keys. The interloped haven which was silent yesterday is now advancing uncovered, with the knowledge of the industry, and only grants the right of citizenship to absolutely rare films. That is to say without French distributors, orphaned DVD publishers (nonexistent or sold out) or remained under the radars. Frank Beauvais retraces: “After a first period of total anarchy where the demands for new members became unmanageable, there was talk of closing the group. Rights holders had expressed themselves against the provision of films for which there was a legal VOD offer. When it was sold to me, the idea was to make it a place regulated by a charter, which is no longer in absolute violation from the point of view of rights. ”

Bunker

To consolidate its virtuous and circulatory effects, it ensures the presence of the press, festival programmers and DVD publishers. The Magnifying Glass becomes the revealer of the blind spots of publishing a cinema from the past, for which there is often no legal distribution channel. Films and names are coming to the surface. “The stars of confinement on the Magnifying Glass have been figures like Guy Gilles or Chantal Akerman, he notices, films for which there is no diffusion except in associative cinemas in resistance like the Key [à Paris, ndlr]. Many are made by women, like those of Carole Roussopoulos that I have been looking for for a long time. And with the events in the United States, the demand has also naturally moved around black American militant cinema. ” Since then, the rooms have reopened, and seeds are blooming outside the bunker of movie buffs. In La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée), Morgan Pokée, programmer of the Concorde cinema and selector at the Cannes Festival Fortnight, considers it important that the group’s experience materializes in theaters. He plans to schedule sessions inspired by it in 2021: Beauvais calls them “Magnifying Glass Sessions”. “I’m not saying it’s a revolution, but things are infusing. And it’s not that bad already… ” If he declines the status of spokesperson and no longer administers the group, he is more or less aware of being a figure towards whom the members have developed a strong feeling of closeness. The uncle, the ferryman devoted to granting requests for untraceable films. The dealer, even if he does not see himself as a privateer and renounces the term piracy: “This implies a notion of gain, but the Magnifying Glass has never revolved around that.”

Totem

Very early on, he shared the link to his own film, the magnificent Do not think that I am screaming. Gratos. A fair return of things given the nature of the object, chronic of an episode of slimy depression that occurred in 2016 in the closed door of his Alsatian house, entirely made from works borrowed from others. Under the skeleton of the text written and read in the first person, the flesh of a thousand images pulsates, taken from the films he downloaded night and day to drown there. This poem of inconsolate recluse has transformed itself into a confined cinephile totem. “Stay locked up, well, I practiced … But this year, the unknown was much stronger. It has brought to light the total absurdity of the ultra-capitalist management of our States and our helplessness that we feel all the more when we cannot demonstrate. The members had developed a strong emotional relationship with the group, the messages multiplied to say that it helped them to hold on. And I had become my only breath. ” Another form of virus – the strain would probably be this «cinéfolie» described in his self-fiction film – has a time circulated in this insomniac dormitory. A storage fever became inexhaustible in the face of tons of gigas and film teras with which to infuse. Queries that agglutinate continuously at the end of dry eyes, which no longer see.

Beauvais is worried that the barter of films will equate them with «Kleenex» disposable. “This moment was becoming ambivalent, he admits. I think that looking back is a way of breaking away from a consumption report that turns us into targets, but there, there were too many films in circulation, and not enough time. Today, the rhythm has become human again. ” And outside, the economic imperative took over. “The world after is the world before, and I live in it on the margins. When Macron speaks to the artists, I know very well that he is not speaking to me. ” He resumed the course of his next project: a film about his mother whose form he is still looking for, for which he transcribes around forty hours of interview. Regarding the cinema he imagines born in the rubble of this incredible period, he delves into a red notebook where he noted a quote from Chantal Akerman: “It’s in the day when… She says: “Did Georges Perec think of the future of literature when he wrote?” I think it also applies to us who make films. ” And to add: “We always find a place to survive.”


Sandra Onana Photo Marguerite Bornhauser

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