Year: 1986
Duration: 13'

A stroll through the 40 hectars of the Père Lachaise. The cemetary reflects the socio-economic hierarchy of French society during the second half of the 19th century. The film pays homage to the Communards who were shot and whose simple commemorative gravestone contrasts with the insolence of the monuments of the great bourgeois families.

"This film on the Père Lachaise cemetary was commissioned in extremis (it must be said) by the Musée d'Orsay, on the initiative of Jean Thibaudeau. I already had one foot in the grave, and I was running the risk of putting the other one in, too. Need and curiosity convinced me to go, staggering around and breathing in the sour-sweet air of the tombstones. Habit, whisky, the support of Françoise Geissler (friend, companion, workmate and editor) and the friendship of Pierre-Marie Goulet and Thibaudeau, all helped this film see the light of day. In this way, from a film about the horrible dead in that cemetary I unconsciously began to flirt with the double idea of testament and rebirth" (J.-D. Pollet, 1989).


film director

Jean-Daniel Pollet

Jean-Daniel Pollet (La Madelaine, France, 1936 - Cadenet, France, 2004) as a filmmaker can hardly be classified in a school of thought or trend. He decided he would become a director in high school, and has dedicated his life to cinema ever since, with mixed success: La ligne de mire (1960), for instance, was never publicly released and was severely criticized by the Nouvelle Vague; Méditerranée, on the other hand, was a resounding success, elevated as a masterpiece by the “Cahiers du cinéma.” His creative partnership with Claude Melki, his role in France’s May 1968 protests, or in the circles of Brazilian Cinema Nôvo are all elements that resurface in Pollet’s cinema. He died in 2004 after a long and prolific career, to which the Torino Film Festival dedicated a complete retrospective in 1998.


Bassae (cm, 1964), Une balle au cœur (1965), Le Horla (mm, 1966), La femme aux cent visages (cm, 1966), Les morutiers (cm, 1966), Tu imagines Robinson (1967), L’amour c’est gai, l’amour c’est triste (1968), Le maître du temps (1970), Le sang (1972), L’ordre (1973), L’acrobate (1975), Pascale et Madi (cm, 1976), Pour mémoire (1980), Au père Lachaîse (cm, 1986), Contretemps (1988), Trois jours en Grèce (1990), Dieu sait quoi (1996).


& Credits

Director: Jean-Daniel Pollet con la collaborazione di Pierre-Marie Goulet.
Text: Jean Thibaudeau.
Director of photography: Noël Very.
Music: Antoine Duhamel.
Editor: Françoise Geissler.
Production company: Atelier audiovisuel du Musée d'Orsay, Ilios Film. Il film fa parte della serie "Architectures, monuments et grands décors sous la IIIe République".