The civil war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s haunts Grandrieux’s work as a traumatic and symbolic reference. Already one week after the signing of the Dayton peace agreement in November 1995, he followed a group of Muslim Bosnians on their bus journey back to war-ravaged Sarajevo and documented their encounter with the horrors of destruction on the way. ‘Retour à Sarajevo’ is produced by Arte, and can be seen as a documentary foundation for his later film ‘La vie nouvelle’. In some places one can sense Grandrieux’s visual signature, but otherwise his long, unedited takes stick to the vérité format’s principle of observant neutrality. It is not an easy or pleasant film, which seen from fourteen years’ distance is both a depressing piece of reality and an important reference point in the director’s oeuvre.
Philippe Jesus Grandrieux is a French film director born in 1954.
He studied movies at the INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle) in Brussels and started his career as a moviemaker by shooting fictional films and documentaries. Grandrieux then worked as an experimental filmmaker in Belgium where he exhibited his video works at local museums. Since the eighties, he has been working in collaboration with the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA) where he has been inventing new cinematographic forms and formats that put into question central notions in film writing: for instance the notions of documentary, information and film essay. In 1990, he created the film research lab “Live” which produced one hour long sequences by Thierry Kuntzel, Robert Kramer and Robert Frank. He also taught movies from time to time at la FEMIS (Fondation Européenne pour les Métiers de l’Image et du Son) and at l’Ecole à l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (Paris… read more