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.
This conversation with filmmaker Alina Marazzi and editor Ilaria Fraioli took place on April 20, 2012, as part of a conference on found footage cinema at the Arts Department of the University of Bologna. Marazzi and Fraioli were invited to reflect on their work with archival material in films like For One More Hour with You (2002) and We Want Roses Too (2007), by a group of scholars with interests in compilation films, cultural memory, and women's cinema: Monica Dall'Asta, Barbara Grespi, Sandra Lischi, and Veronica Pravadelli.