Pamplona (Spain), 22-27 February 

Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo (1905-1934)

Thinking of Jean Vigo is like imagining a new foundation of filmmaking.

On the border between silent movies and sound films, at a time of decline of once-historic avant-garde works into repetitive academic forms, far from art circles and movements, and in a strange solitude shared with his wife, Lydu Lozinska, Jean Vigo approached filmmaking with the audacity typical of an amateur, that is, a true film-lover. He was perhaps the first filmmaker to show the compatibility between “the two basic paths film has forked into,” as Miguel Marías puts it, that is, “photography, which is objective, neutral and realistic, does not tell a story and has a documentary nature,” “and drama, which is subjective, fantastic, manipulating, focusing on fictional stories, and stylising images.” Vigo’s work reviews and summarises what film had been before him. Although it lacks the features an erudite director’s work usually has, his films show he was a visionary because “he knew he was doomed,” as François Truffaut said. According to the director of Les quatre cents (The Four Hundred Blows), Vigo “felt that he was running a race against the clock, against counted time, and he was determined to win it. He agreed with Ingmar Bergman’s idea: a director must make every film as if it were his last one." 

Jean Vigo directed all his films as if they were the last one; however, he made all his shots as if they were his first. The very first shot. With all the audacity and all the innocence of a director who is going to take his first shot. This is why thinking of Jean Vigo is like imagining a new foundation of filmmaking. He received thirty years of film and he gave birth to all the revolutions to come.

The Punto de Vista Festival considers Jean Vigo an ongoing reference and guide, renewed every year thanks to the friendly contribution of the French filmmaker’s daughter, Luce Vigo, who is a film critic herself. In fact, the Festival's name was inspired by Jean Vigo’s phrase “punto de vista documentado” (documented point of view). Also, since 2007, the Punto de Vista Festival has awarded the Jean Vigo Award to Best Director.