Introduction for the retrospective


French jean-Gabriel Périot (b. 1974) is a next generation avant-gardist. His documentary Eût-elle été criminelle... (Even if She Had Been a Criminal, 2006) won the Grand Prix 2006 in the International Competition of Tampere Film Festival. The film is a powerful depiction of the public humiliation the French women who had affairs with Germans were put through after World War II ended. Besides the topic, the film also startles with the intensity of its experimental expression, which demonstrates Périot's firm grasp of the grammar of montage, in particular of the visual rhythm the style requires.

Périot became familiar with the audiovisual profession when he worked as an assistant in television documentaries. Since then, he has directed numerous videos and short films. His early works study the themes of corporeality and sexuality in a very personal and humorous light. From the films shown at Tampere, Gay ? (2000) peeks into a video diary m which Périot "comes out" as an homosexual. In 21.04.02 (2002), the director shows how his generation builds its identity in a world satiated with media imagery. The motives behind these seemingly personal works about identity are highly social.

Périot has long been interested, both as a viewer and a director, in films that take a stand. As his films have gotten more political, they have also become more radical. In particular the influence of Russian formalism is strongly present in his latest works, in which social critique and accentuated formal expression intertwine inseparably.

Working with archive material, Périot creates fresh questions and interpretations of Western culture. Devil Inside (2004) combines animation and World War II era archive films into a celebration of revolution, queer and rock 'n' roll. The film is co-directed by artist-anarchist Tom de Pékin, and the soundtrack features the provocative female group The Flaming Pussy. We are winning don't forget (2004) is a depiction of the working class's struggle, accompanied by the politically active group Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Périot numbers among the anarchistic contemporary artists who express their political opinions with deference to art. In his opinion, critical art can only be interesting if it has a message beyond its author's political views. His latest film Nijuman no borei (2007) was finished just before the festival. The experimental work reminds audiences of one of the worst crimes against humanity, the atomic bomb of Hiroshima. This poetic new film has its international premiere at the Tampere Film Festival.


Tampere film festival