the invitation to travel by Michel Zumpf, mixer of throbbing shapes


Can you see the title of the film above? You don’t hear it. However, it exhilarates you. Opens your mind like a peel. From what hazardous collusion does the first semantic group emerge? Exactly what tears did the second cause? You may ask yourself. We are not sure we have answers to these questions. Instead, we have a little story to tell. She began in 1994, meeting on a cinema screen the Manual geographer, first film by Michel Zumpf, then unknown to our services.

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An astounding meeting, strictly speaking unforgettable, so strong was the impression of having to deal with another world of cinema. Half of a silent black and white film, documentary. A fictionalized suite in color with sound. Heterogeneous paintings. A scientific-poetic fiber. Of humor. Of scholarship. A certain preciousness. An art of putting the things of the world (people, music, objects, nature, feelings…) in a new relationship. Guaranteed cleansing of the mind. New youth of sensation.

Information taken, the author of this baroque madness, born in 1957, defector of philosophy, fishing and advertising, led a career as an artist-photographer-filmmaker. The discreet sparkle of the first opus of Manual geographer was a sort of furious gamble. Convince prestigious cinematographers to take their free time free of charge to each record 122 meters of film with a Cameflex. Seventeen accepted, falling under the bizarre charm of the fruitful discourer. Among them, Raoul Coutard, Emmanuel Machuel, Agnès Godard, William Lubtchansky, etc.

Extreme sonic sophistication

Twenty-three years later, at the end of an unfathomable silence, Zumpf resumes the thread of his filmed poetic essay. Socrates to take leave (2017) continues the initial work by shifting it to the side of music. The film brings to light, in sung tableaux, an unknown work by Erik Satie for voice and piano, composed in 1918 at the request of the Princess de Polignac, who wanted music to accompany her philosophy readings. Then Visit card (2018) unearths this little-known poet that was Max Jacob. Onion eye, his new film, returns to the introductory principle of a graceful accompaniment which will structure the work, this time with forty-one musicians asked to write a musical phrase for the film in the making.

Their name is Delphine Dora, Morgan Fisher, Ell Sol, Ela Orleans, Jac Berrocal, Fishbach, David Fenech… Connoisseurs will recognize a motley and underground continent where experimentation prevails over all other considerations. Wonders are not rare there. We could hear a sort of return to a sound origin of their art which borders on the most extreme sophistication. Michel Zumpf, self-promoted mixer of these throbbing forms, couples them with numerous literary quotes and arranges them on a sampling of simple views, in turn suggesting an abundant and complex inner world. A close-up of oyster, a piece of meat being cut up, a young girl in a hat declaiming, a merry-go-round in the night, expensive book titles, propaganda posters, windy landscapes and architectures… This intimate and esoteric archival record testifies to a conception of the art more than ever based on election, beauty, distinction. Assuming the risk of leaving spectators at the dock, the invitation to travel is considered.

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