Saturday, 22 June 2019

Vale Pierre Rissient - Barbara Grummels fills in a historical gap about the discovery of Jane Campion

Pierre Rissient
Editor's Note: Barbara Grummels, a long time cinephile, art house cinema manager, quality distributor and promoter recently came across David Roe's thoughts about Pierre Rissient published here on 9 May Barbara has now sent in this note describing just how it was that Pierre was introduced to the work of Jane Campion and later Laurie McInnes. Barbara writes:

After being introduced to Pierre by David Roe I would sometimes see Pierre again in Cannes at screenings of the most commercially marginal, out of the ordinary, films. When the lights came up we would often find ourselves in the front row, the only ones left in the cinema, so we’d share our opinions. 

I too found that he was as fiercely opinionated as others published on this blog have noted.  

I encountered Pierre by chance in a corridor early in 1986 (I think at Film Australia). He was complaining that he hadn’t seen any Australian features of interest. 

None of the sources he relied on to suggest titles to him seemed to recommend short films. Many in Australia were unaware that there was a competition for short films in Cannes. 
Jane Campion

I was very enthusiastic about the short films by Jane Campion and suggested he take a look.  Thanks to Pierre Peel was entered and won the Palme d'Or - Short Film.  Passionless Moments and A Girls Own Story were shown in Un Certain Regard the same year.  

Jane was the first woman ever to win a Palme d’Or. Pierre championed all her subsquent work.  

The following year Pierre secured entry of Laurie McInnes Palisade into the short competition and it also won the 1987 Palme d'Or - Short Film. 

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