Schismogenesis – Steps Toward a History of French Experimental Film

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Films by Martine Rousset, Patrice Kirchhofer, and David Wharry
Curated by Enrico Camporesi

Microscope is very pleased to welcome back Paris-based, Italian curator Enrico Camporesi to the gallery with a new program of 16mm experimental films, Schismogenesis – Steps Toward a History of French Experimental Film. The evening includes a selection of works by three members of the Cooperative des cinéastes (Paris, 1976-1978) Martine Rousset, Patrice Kirchhofer, and David Wharry that have rarely, if ever, screened in the US. All films will be shown in their original format.

More info at


Enrico Camporesi’s description of the show follows:

“We needed fresh air, freedom, we needed to do what we had to do. We were somewhere nearby a poor cinema. Free and poor cinema, that’s it.” It is in these terms that the filmmaker Martine Rousset explains the founding of the Cooperative des cinéastes in 1976. Conceived more as a gathering of differences, rather than a structured movement, the association would disband shortly after its inception. It would be hard to tell what brought these people together – again Rousset: “There was David Wharry that played the Englishman, there was Kirchhofer that developed films in his bathtub, there was Gérard Courant that started his Cinématons.”

The idea that lay behind their gathering coincided with an attempt to break away from the two major groups of independent filmmakers of the time in France. The members of the Cooperative des cinéastes did not want to join the ranks of the “professor filmmakers” of the Paris Film Coop (“too theoretical”). But, at they same time, they could not to come to terms with auteur film in a manner akin to what the Collectif Jeune Cinéma had been doing (“too eclectic”). After being reunited under this common will of dissent, it was inevitable to witness, in turn, the end of the Cooperative des cinéastes.

Eventually, the conflicts faded and the frantic creation of new divisions between the filmmakers’ groups came to an end. The prints rested some time on the shelves of Light Cone, the distributor that channelled the heritage of the coops of the 1970s. Here is the occasion to see four of them. 

General admission $8
Members or students w/ ID $6


(approximately 47 minutes)

Sensytométrie III
by Patrice Kirchhofer, 1975, 16mm, color, sound, 20 minutes

Le réverbère
by Martine Rousset, 1977, 16mm, color, sound 10 minutes

Carolyn I
by Martine Rousset, 1977,16mm, b&w, sound, 10 minutes

Carlton Dekker
by David Wharry, 1986, 16mm, b&w, sound, 6 minutes 15 seconds

Enrico Camporesi is an Italian writer and curator based in Paris. His book Futurs de l’obsolesence, an essay on the restoration of artists’ films, is forthcoming later this year for Éditions Mimésis. His previous research focuses on matters of restoration and museology of experimental and artist’s film. His writings on the moving image have appeared in Necsus – European Journal of Media StudiesFata Morgana, La Furia Umana, and in several edited volumes. Camporesi has curated screenings for Centre Pompidou, Light Cone, and Cineteca di Bologna, among others.



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Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 19:30
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