Forty-five minutes of images filmed during a 3,500 kilometer-long voyage around the Mediterranean that are edited like a serial: "one after another, the pieces of the game are picked up again and re-thrown, different and equal, in the same manner and in a different way", says the narrater Sollers. This cult film of Pollet's was loved by Godard and the "materialistic" theoreticians of 1968, by Ponge and by "Tel Quel", and at every new viewing its enigmatic power remains intact. Sollers believes that this film "deserves to be counted amongst the great editing masterpieces".
"In Méditeranée I filmed only one thing per shot, so that when I edited the film I could use the shots like words, like signs. Above all I wanted to maintain the free presence of the things. It is easier for me to film things than to film people. I believe strongly in Francis Ponge's "set purpose of things". The authors of the Nouveau Roman have been accused of being cerebral and complicated. This is false. They want to have a virgin view of things. Nothing is more simple and more honest, in fact, than their attitude" (J.-D. Pollet, 1967).
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.
Text: Philippe Sollers.
Music: Antoine Duhamel.
Editor: Jean-Daniel Pollet, Jacqueline Raynal.
Director assistant: Volker Schlöndorff.
Production company: Les Films Jean-Daniel Pollet con il concorso di Les Films du Losange. Mecenate: Adrien Perkel.