In a poetic fashion, a game around daily gestures. Spontaneous choreography of the hands, offices where newspapers are cut, rooms where one paints, where one undresses. A hand passed through his hair, a wrist twirling on an archer, an obsessed search.
Stories told through gestures, furtively captured in their natural environment. Are we watching the history of the French people? Award-winning yet still relatively unknown filmmaker Guy Gilles, equally at ease in fictional features as in documentaries, gave us this visual research study on the unspoken mores of French society through its habits and day-to-day movements. Gilles’ camera, capturing methodically placed frames that seem to pay homage to the legendary Bresson, reveals with poetic ease the evocative power of body language and the codes through which our most banal actions communicate. Chanson de gestes is a wordless film with a lot to say.
Archivist and programmer
Guy Chiche, known as Guy Gilles, was born in Algiers on August 25, 1938, and died in Paris on February 3, 1996. He was a French director and screenwriter. In 1958 he made his first short film, Soleil éteint, thanks to a maternal inheritance. After studying fine arts, he left for Paris where he worked as an assistant to François Reichenbach in 1964. His first feature film, Love at Sea (1964), in which Juliette Gréco, Jean-Claude Brialy and Jean-Pierre Léaud made brief appearances, went out without a distributor in 1965. He then worked for television and shot "cine-reports". During his career, he directed several feature films which, despite a good critical reception, were shunned by the public. Let us name among others Wall Engravings (1968), Repeated Absences (1972), The Garden That Tilts (1975). In 1975, he made a documentary on Jean Genet, Saint, poète et martyr, which was screened during a gay film festival where an extreme right-wing group interrupted and struck the director. His last films to be released in theaters are Le crime d'amour (1982), with Richard Berry and Jacques Penot, and Nuit docile (1987). Suffering from AIDS, encountering difficulties with production, he struggled to complete Néfertiti, la fille du soleil in 1994. He died in 1996.