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Retrospective - Bertrand Mandico

​L'homme de Mandico

The films by Bertrand Mandico belong to the History of Heresies. Demons are said to be gods whose worship has ceased to be perpetuated by human society. Today’s cinema is a Satan. From the moment a popular art ceases to be lived collectively, it becomes a heresy. But it is also the instant, as rapid as the fluttering wings of the Angel, where he can explore what belongs only to him. His ritual intensifies to the point that all his officiants seem to be possessed with erotic fury. His narrations become inquiries into the methods of his own magical activity. All his images are as precise as spells.


The films by Bertrand Mandico belong to the History of Urban Legends. For a long time, as mythical as they were invisible, one had the impression that they came down to us like goddesses with many faces, shrouded in a thick electric cloud of waiting and mystery. Happy as Ulysses, the spectator had to navigate between festivals and retrospectives to catch a glimpse of each one of them. But once he had seen one, he couldn’t escape anymore: the film had a magical hold on him like Circe. The cinema remained in his memory as an Orphic temple full of human statues where he would have witnessed the summoning ritual of a goddess with lush flesh, full of ripening fruit and fading flowers.


The films by Bertrand Mandico belong to the History of Parallel Universes. Although New World filmmakers who, from Tod Browning to David Lynch,are an enigma, in their images – the films by Bertrand Mandico are deliberately de-Hollywoodized. It is the cinema of a mirror world where California does not exist. By removing the geography of cinema from his History, Betrand Mandico’s work has been made into a messianism without a promised land. Polish, Russian, Italian, Japanese, he made it an unrecognisable medium that turns its back on the 80s-90s-2000s-2010s and the reinstatement of the cinema as an illustration of the American policy of remodeling the world’s political map and the “exportation” of democracy. A medium that also turns its back on French “intimist” production and on this ridiculous  focusing on “the couple”, “short stories”, “daily life”. The films by Bertrand Mandico are the cinema of this parallel universe where France followed the magical line represented by Cocteau and Rivette rather than the slope of “middle-class stories” by Truffaut and Despléchin. The cinema of a parallel universe where it is Walerian Borowcyk and Andrzej Zulawski who influenced the young novice filmmakers of the 1980s rather than Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The cinema of a parallel universe that would have extolled the illustrations by Topor, the comic strips by Fred. The cinema of a world where Nerval would be king.


With this box set now in your hands as a “portable temple”, the films by Bertrand Mandico can be viewed and re-lived by replaying them over and over again in your home. They will turn your flats into cosmic caves of hot flesh. They will plunge you into his funny dialogues, hanging on and cruel just like a bubble bath. But the more you watch them over again, the more they will see and influence you – and you mutate together to become that kind of mutant with purple eyelids and that his films now call: a rigorous parahumanity just like eroticism, as exciting as arithmetic, as overwhelming as logic, as clear-cut as madness, as anxious as daybreak; a parahumanity just as fabulous as the abominable snowman, the Loch Ness monster, the Manticore or the Berbalang: something like “Mandico, The Man”. The films by Bertrand Mandico belong to the History of Fantastic Zoology.

By Pacôme.
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Bertrand Mandico 4


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