Lake, A (Un Lac): Philippe Grandrieux’s Metaphysical Family Drama

Philippe Grandrieux (Sombre, La Vie Nouvelle) is an artist fully engaged with the reinvention of cinema. “I don’t think in terms of stories,” Grandrieux has noted. “To me, these films are objects. They’re plastic. They’re formed.”
Set in a misty and remote corner of the French Alps, A Lake tells a powerful metaphysical story. It depicts a family living in the woods and supported by the eldest son’s logging, despite his frequent, violent epileptic fits. He adores his sister, perhaps excessively.
The arrival of a stranger to help the logging sets off tremors that dislocate the delicate balance of family relationships.
Under Grandrieux’s helm, this tale becomes a sensory experience that engages the eye, ear, mind and emotion to their fullest extent.
Intensely physical and metaphysical, Grandrieux’s expression of feeling through light (or its absence), sounds, and faces offers a window to the subconscious.
Running time: 87 Minutes
In French with English subtitles
Philippe Grandrieux
Born in 1954, Philippe Grandrieux studied filmmaking at the INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle) in Brussels. After shooting a few fiction and documentary films, he worked as an experimental filmmaker and videomaker in Belgium. Since the eighties, he has been working in collaboration with the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), where he has conducted research and experiments at the boundary between documentary and essay films. In 1990, he created the film research lab “Live” which produced one hour long sequences by Thierry Kuntzel, Robert Kramer and Robert Frank. He has also been teaching at la FEMIS (Fondation Européenne pour les Métiers de l’Image et du Son) and at l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (both in Paris).
Grandrieux works in various formats: television, video art, museum or gallery installation, documentary, film essay and experimental narrative. He acknowledges the influence of Edmond Bernhard, his teacher at the INSAS, Murnau, Robert Bresson, Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Stan Brakhage, Teinosuke Kinugasa, Jean Epstein and Pier Paolo Pasolini, his readings of Marc-Aurèle, Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze, as well as his love for avant-garde cinema and horror movies.
Filmography
1974 : Via la vidéo ( Albert Baronian Gallery / Brussels)
1975 : The Cubist Painting (La Peinture cubiste), co-directed by Thierry Kuntzel
1982 : Just An Image (Juste une image) 9X55′, co-directed by Thierry Garrel, Louisette Neil
1982 : A Generation (Une génération)
1983 : Full Moon (Pleine Lune) (Prize of the French Association of Critics of Television)
1984 : Full Size (Grandeur nature)
1985 : Long courrier
1987 : The World is All What Happens-Le monde est tout ce qui arrive
1987 : Azimut (4X30′, with Paul Virilio, Jean Louis Schefer, Juan David Nasio)
1990 : Live (14X60′), notably episodes by Robert Frank (New-York)
Steve Dwoskin (Londres) Nick Wapplington (near Newcastle) Robert Kramer (Berlin) Gary Hill (U.S.A) Thierry Kuntzel (Tampico) Daniele Incalcaterra (Moscou) Ken Kobland (Dallas)
1993 : The Wheel (La Roue) – Episodes « Brian Holm » and « Gert Jan Theunisse »
1994 : Jojo de Bicho
1996 : Brut
1996 : Back to Sarajevo
1999 : Sombre Special (Mention of the Orrizzonti jury, Locarno Film Festival)
2002 : La Vie nouvelle
2007 : Putting Holes in Happiness, video for Marylin Manson
2007 : Met, installation
2007 : Late Season (L’Arrière-Saison), film and installation
2007 : Grenoble, installation
2008 : A Lake (Un Lac) (Orrizzonti Price/Special Mention Venice Film Fest)