A great director, not very well known today, but for this film blogger his “Le Sang des betes” (1949, 22 mins.) from a slaughterhouse in the Parisian suburb, is a unique  masterpiece in the history of documentary films. The film can be bought through Aamazon or watched in different language version on YouTube. If you happen to be in Donostia late September, you will able to see more of Franju’s oeuvre. This is taken from the site of the festival in San Sebastian:

French filmmaker Georges Franju is to be the subject of one the retrospectives programmed for the 60th San Sebastian Festival to take place from 21-29 September 2012.

Georges Franju (12-4-1912 / 5-11-1987) was an enormously influential figure in French film culture. In 1936 he founded the Cinémathèque Française with Henri Langlois. His career as a director began in 1949 with documentaries, a field to which he contributed some of the greatest titles ever in the genre. His early works – Le Sang des bêtes, Hôtel des Invalides and En passant par la Lorraine – already demonstrated his particular talent for filming reality from unexpected angles, a trait leading in these testimonial films to a sensitivity akin to surrealism and expressionism.

Franju’s obsession with putting his finger on the inexpressible poetry of things through his lens stayed with him as he moved on to feature films with La Tête contre les murs (Head Against the Wall,1958), followed by Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face,1959), considered to be a masterpiece of fantasy film. His fascination with popular culture, with the feuilleton soap-operas and silent film serials, is clearly visible in movies like Pleins feux sur l’assassin (1960), Judex (1963) and Nuits rouges (1974), true exercises in style striving to recover the innocence of those old narrations of intrigue and mystery in an obvious vindication of film as visual, narrative pleasure. But Franju was also known for his skilful adaptations of classic literary works on which he unfailingly left his personal stamp: François Mauriac (Thérèse Desqueyroux / Therese, 1962), Émile Zola (La faute de l’Abbé Mouret / The Demise of Father Mouret, 1970), Joseph Conrad (La Ligne d’ombre, 1973) and Jean Cocteau (Thomas l’imposteur / Thomas the Imposter, 1964). Today unjustly forgotten, Franju’s work enjoyed great critical acclaim in its time and earned him the admiration of the young filmmakers of the nouvelle vague.


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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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