Despite the recent multiplication of studies in found footage cinema, the fog surrounding the figure of Myriam Borsoutsky remains thick. This article elaborates the rare extant information about her work to retrace an important chapter in the history of found footage cinema in France, in which women have played a major role. In an attempt to delineate a specifically female genealogy in the history of French compilation film, Myriam's work is studied alongside that of Nicole Vedrès, and situated in the cultural context of a net of relationships that includes other women, for instance Denise Tual and Yannick Bellon, as well as such masters of French cinema as Pierre Braunberger, Sacha Guitry, Henri Langlois, Alain Resnais, André Bazin, Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, and Michel Leiris. A detailed analysis of two major works in this genealogy, Paris 1900 (dir. Nicole Vedrès, 1947) and Bullfight (dir. Myriam and Pierre Braunberger, 1951), draws upon Vedrès's own writings and André Bazin's critical notes on the films. The last section addresses the meaning of the neologism neomontage, coined by Bazin in his review of Bullfight to describe Myriam's “diabolical” editing abilities.
Looking for Myriam: A Secret Genealogy of French Compilation Film
Monica Dall'Asta is an associate professor at the University of Bologna. She has widely published in Italian, English, and French on feminist film history, the history of European film theories, and early and classic film seriality. In 2008 she edited a new Italian translation of Alice Guy's memoirs (Memorie di una pioniera del cinema) and the first collection on women's filmmaking in Italian silent cinema (Non solo dive. Pioniere del cinema italiano). She coedits, with Jane M. Gaines and Radha Vatsal, The Women Film Pioneers Project.
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Monica Dall'Asta; Looking for Myriam: A Secret Genealogy of French Compilation Film. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2016; 2 (3): 29–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2016.2.3.29
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