Maurice Pialat, the greatest Anti-New Wave French filmmaker, won his first and only Palme d’Or for the controversial Under the Sun of Satan
in 1987. The decision was apparently unanimous among the Jury, however, he was booed by the audience, which prompted a proudly defiant acceptance speech
“I shall not fail to uphold my reputation. I am particularly pleased by all the protests and whistles directed at me this evening, and if you do not like me, I can say that I do not like you either.”
Pialat was indeed known for his misanthropy, and his films embody all that rage against the meaninglessness of the world, the pain inflicted by perpetual dissatisfaction, and the rawness of the emotions that can’t be controlled. But his cinema is also full of beauty, warmth and freedom, and boasts a candid, everlasting spark of authenticity—it ultimately has the rare quality of being hostile and inviting in equal measure. Pialat is often compared to John Cassavetes, and his influence has been recognised by modern masters such as Arnaud Desplechin, Leos Carax, Philippe Garrel or Chantal Akerman. But these are all lines that we need to draw in our attempt to frame the unframable: a truly wild filmmaker, extraordinary and unique. We’re immensely proud to present this retrospective, a celebration of his vision including most of his uncompromising masterpieces. Let this be our love letter to the man who didn’t want to be loved.