One year after the release of his latest feature film, “Chambre 212”, the book “Les Corps libérations” looks back on Christophe Honoré’s rich and fascinating work in a simple and accessible way.
After Terrence Malick, Michael Mann, JJ Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Ridley and Tony Scott, the Wachowski sisters or even the Ghibli studio, it is a Frenchman who is in the spotlight of the collection of essays edited by Playlist Society: Christophe Honoré, director who has distinguished himself on the big screen for two decades, and presents himself as one of the heirs of the New Wave, through his way of directing and making Louis Garrel grow in his films which recalls François Truffaut with Jean-Pierre Léaud, or his collaboration with the composer Alex Beaupain, on musical feature films in particular, in which the influence of the work of Jacques Demy shines through. But not only.
The filmmaker, who started at “Cinema Notebooks” like Truffaut, is also a screenwriter, writer (of children’s novels and books) and director of plays and operas. He therefore has several caps with which he tackles his favorite themes and subjects in different formats. This is particularly the case with AIDS, which swept away many of its favorite authors in the 1980s and 1990s, and which can be found in both “Everything against Leo” (published in 1996 and which he transposed into a telefilm in 2002), as well as the film Plaire, aime et cours vite and the play “The Idols”, which both date from 2018. Written by Mathieu Champalaune, journalist and member of the editorial board of the cinema review “Replicas”, “Christophe Honoré – The Liberated Bodies” looks back on the career of this director who, not content with having adapted and modernized the famous “Metamorphoses” of Ovid, builds his own mythology from work to work.
“The Songs of Love”, the film which imposed it on the general public:
It is thus a question of its relation to literature, to the text and to dialogue. In the city (Paris, the theater of several of his feature films, or Rennes, the place of his studies). To the family, he who evokes the tragic death of his father in several of his stories. And the bodies. In a poetic way, in the amorous ballets they form (Les Bien-Aimés, To please, to love and to run fast, the household in three of the Songs of love), or more somber, through aging, death and, again once the ravages of AIDS. As this book reminds us very well, the films of Christophe Honoré are nevertheless full of life, despite the melancholy that inhabits some, because his characters are in search of fulfillment and emancipation, like Maria (Chiara Mastroianni), heroine of his latest opus, the fabulous Chambre 212, which mixed many of his influences and obsessions, and at times looked like a sum-movie bursting with vitality.
One year after the release of the feature film, this book published by Playlist Society also allows us to revisit the universe of one of our most interesting directors. If the labels “French auteur cinema” and “heir to the New Wave” affixed to his work can be frightening, it is not. Because despite some more raw opuses (My mother, Homme au bain, Métamorphoses), his work is very accessible since he uses these themes and autobiographical elements to talk about us, and question our place in the world, in the city, in our families. Simple and fascinating, this book highlights the richness of Christophe Honoré’s work and makes you want to immerse yourself in his work. Or to discover it. Because if it is appropriate to have seen the films and plays mentioned, it can also serve as a gateway and make you want to see more.
“Christophe Honoré – Les Corps libérés” by Mathieu Champalaune – Published by Playlist Society – Available since October 20, 2020 – 14 euros
“Chambre 212”, the latest feature film by Christophe Honoré: