Alain Noguès

from 25 April to 26 May 2019

Pure chance... If, one autumn evening, Jean- Pierre Blanc had not pushed open the door to Collected Autres Photographies, as usual on a hunt for images of the île du Levant, when... he discovered my photo of Jean-Luc Godard — burying with a spade in his hand — Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina (Pierrot le fou and Marianne in the film), I would not have been invited by the villa Noailles to relate this romantic episode from my life.
In 1965, I was twenty-eight, but above all... I was in love with lilou assistant film editor to Françoise Collin, the chief editor.
As a photographer, I was looking for my calling... I visited the editing suite on rue Washington on several occasions, whilst they were editing Une femme mariée, Alphaville...
For Pierrot le fou I accompanied them to the paradise island of Porquerolles...
A letter of introduction from the National Union of Students of France, which was read by Jean-Luc Godard, facilitated my access to the film set...
What followed was an unforgettable week, which comes back to me in flashes of images...
Jean-Luc Godard, his head covered with a khaki-coloured G.I.’s hat, walking around, pensive, taking notes in an exercise book for the next shots...
Anna Karina walking with her feet in the water: “what can I do, I dunno what to do.”
Enthralled, I can still see the totem of the camera, manipulated by the unflappable Raoul Coutard, whose images for the superb travelling shots in À bout de souffle were fixed in my mind.
Anna with her face still yellow, a seductive Chinese; heightened by the make-up artist Jackye Nogaret...
Jean-Paul Belmondo bare chested caressing a fennec and then holding an intensely coloured parrot which evoked the macaws of Southern America...
And finally the ultramarine blue of the paint spread across Belmondo’s face by Godard with a paint brush... and the multi-coloured sticks of dynamite, encircling Pierrot-Ferdinand’s waist.
Godard watched over every little detail, grabbing hold of a grenade in order to mime a scene...
The shoot took place in a relaxed and efficient atmosphere, highlighted by a magical scenery, but where violence was about to explode.
Driven by a murderous madness, Pierrot kills Marianne, who dies with her arms raised up to the sky.
A sublime and shocking scene.
In a state of despair, Pierrot decides to end it all and blows himself up!
These brutal scenes contrast with the passionate love story which punctuates the film.
The long shot of the sand dunes already evoked the end of the tumultuous relationship between Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard; accentuated by a tragic climax.
I will bring this evocation to an end by stating that it was a marvellous week, where I had the — rare — opportunity to photograph the final scenes of Pierrot le Fou, and... the pleasure of being with lilou: Andrée Choty, who was to become the mother of our two daughters Éléonore and Virginie.

Paris April 2019

Andrée Choty lilou left us on 25 May 2017 following a long illness.

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