LE FRESNOY Special Program



LE FRESNOY welcomed its first students in October 1997. This “Studio for Contemporary Arts” is a unique institution that combines training, production and presentation in the visual and audiovisual arts. Cofinanced by the French Ministry of Culture and the Regional Council of Nord/Pas-de-Calais, and supported by the Municipality of Tourcoing, it was conceived by Alain Fleischer, who is its artistic and educational director.


The word Studio indicates a place of study but also a place of production. The objective of the Studio National des Arts Contemporains is to provide professional-standard facilities in which young artists can make new works, moving freely between different languages and means of expression under the guidance of recognized artists such as Raoul Ruiz, Tsaï Ming-Liang, Bruno Dumont, Eugène Green, Jean-Luc Godard, Arnaud Despallières, Avi Mograbi, Luc Moullet, Andrew Kötting, Gary Hill, Sarkis, Michael Snow, Robert Kramer, Fausto Romitelli, Grégory Chatonsky, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Atau Tanaka, Andrea Cera, Georges Aperghis, André S. Labarthes, Alain Buffard, Armando Menicacci, Charles Sandison, Sven Pahlsson, Mauro Lanza, Juan Fontcuberta, Chantal Akerman, Ryoji Ikeda, Yann Kersalé, Christian Rizzo, Kurt Hentschlager, Christian Rizzo, Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, Jean-François Peyret, Robert Cahen, João Pedro Rodrigues, Mathieu Amalric, Denis Côté, Benoît Jacquot, Jean-Paul Fargier, Ryoichi Kurokawa, David Rokeby, Edwin van der Heide etc.


The curriculum articulates the established audiovisual media (photography, cinema and video: first year) with digital, multimedia and hypermedia work (second year). The productive activity is coupled with a cycle of theoretical and historical lectures and with workshops offering a grounding in technical skills. The pedagogical and production activities are extended by an ambitious events programme with exhibitions, film cycles and other happenings put on in the various spaces and exploring the issues of contemporary creation. In June, the work produced over the year is presented in the annual show, “Panorama”, organised by a guest curator. Also, the works produced at Le Fresnoy feature regularly in programmes mounted in French and foreign institutions or events (film festivals, cinématheques, museums, art centres etc.).



FRANCOIS BONENFANT - Head of Studies LE FRESNOY Studio National Des Arts Contemporaines. He studied theatre at the INSAS and modern literature at the University Paris 10-Nanterre. A writer and film critic, since September 2010 he’s in charge of the pedagogical fields of cinema and visual arts of LE FRESNOY. Between 2005 and 2010 he was also responsible for the programme Fenêtre sur le court métrage contemporain at the Cinémathèque française. In 2009, he was Cinéma du Réel’s deputy artistic director (Centre Pompidou). He regularly works with film festivals both in France and abroad (Cinéma du Réel, Côté Court, Indielisboa, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen). Among others, he collaborates with the Bref magazine and he was one of the contributors of the dictionary on cinema published by Télérama.

MORNING OF SAINT ANTHONY’S DAY (25’, France/Portugal, 2012) Read more


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Tradition says that on June 13th, Saint Anthony’s Day, lovers must offer small vases of basil, paper carnations and short poems, as a token of their love. Premiered in Cannes Critics Week 2012 and one of the EFA Nominees 2012, this intriguing short film explores a both naive and charming popular belief in the form of an urban performance. The youngsters’ movements remind of “the geometrical and melancholic choreographies of Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati and even the dance pieces of Pina Bausch. A huge St. Anthony’s choreography, a kind of unconscious homage to one of the most popular celebrations in Lisbon.” (João Pedro Rodrigues)

THE GENERATION OF SACRIFICE (20’, France, 2011) Read more


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The unsettling THE GENERATION OF SACRIFICE innovatively mixes the animation, the archive collage and the fictional soundtrack, to recreate the terror of the communist Romania of the 80’s, when the Secret Police aparatus included even very young spies, high school teenagers, convinced to betray their own family and friends. Starting from the Secret Police files, the French filmmaker JEAN CHRISTOPHE makes a sharp and disturbingly topical X-ray of the Romanian mindsets: “After a trip to Romania in 2010, I discovered with surprise how much the recent communist past is still present in the Romanians’ daily life. Many of them use to say “nothing has changed”: the country became neo-liberal in a violent way, but at the political level, the same old generations are in power”. (JEAN CHRISTOPHE)

THE RECALL OF THE SONGBIRD (9’, France, 2010) Read more


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A woman crosses a forest whilst travelling through her memories. Seeing herself again as a child hunting with her father, she relives the terror of the gun shots and the desire to be accepted despite the fact that she was not a boy. For the first time she also sees her father with different eyes, understanding his loneliness and weakness. THE RECALL OF THE SONGBIRD is a film who talks about families, of the difficulty of growing up with the expectations and disappointment of expectations. It’s a film about love which is sometimes played out between power and suffering.

THE SALT BOULDER (21’, France, 2012) Read more


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Daringly experimenting both in the way to re-experience the historical past and in cinematic form, THE SALT BOULDER takes us back at the beginning of the Romanian communist era. There is an acute shortage of dwellings. The government decides even the dimension and the way to put prefabs together. The only job left to the architects is to think how to cram the people inside. They don’t manage themselves to acquire the legal conditions to have a place to live in. They are homeless architects. Looking for a place to sleep becomes an endless wandering in a stifling space, having no borders but any expanse either. Everything is lost: the projects, the constructions, and the self. 

VIA (19’, France, 2010) Read more


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Starring the versatile Denis Lavant (the fetish actor of Leos Carax), VIA is both a charming sample of meta-cinema and an intriguing journey of self discovery. During the shooting of a silent black and white film, an actor successively plays different characters. What he doesn’t know yet and gradually discovers is that the film carries on, in colour, in his private life, which turns out to be just as fictional. The new world that unravels to him is confusing, aggressive and frightening. He soon understands his predetermined condition of prisoner of the cinematic frame, which triggers in him a deep identity crisis, a strong need to break free from the script.