Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo

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He had bad health since he was a child. Son of anarchist militant Miguel Almareyda, he also never really recovered from his father's mysterious death in jail when he was 12. Abandoned by his mother, he passed from boarding school to boarding school. Aged 23, through meetings with people involved in the movies, he started working in the cinema, then bought a camera and shot his first film, a short documentary, A propos de Nice (1930) then, two years later, Taris champion de natation (1931). These two very personal works frighten the producers, and it lasted two years before someone showed some interest in his project of a children movie. This would be his masterpiece, Zero de conduite (1933) (aka Zero for Conduct), a subversive despiction of an authoritarian boarding school, which directly came from Vigo's memories. The film is straightaway censored for its "anti-French spirit." In despair, he nevertheless shot L'Atalante (1934), a romantic and realistic story of a young couple beginning their life together in a barge. He died just afterward of septicemy. His work would not be recognized before 1945. This accursed filmmaker is now admired for his poetic realism.

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