Carte blanche Jean-Pierre Dionnet

It's hard to count all of master Jean-Pierre Dionnet's many talents. After his beginnings at the Futuropolis bookstore, this aficionado of the 7th Art took part in several magazines (Comics 130, Pogo, Phénix) before joining the mythical weekly Pilote in 1970 thanks to Philippe Druillet. Five years later along with Druillet, Moebius et Bernard Farkas he founded Les Humanoïdes Associés, to publish or re-issue little known comics or novels, and to start the magazine Métal Hurlant. It became the home of the best of avant-garde underground comics : Jodorowsky, Enki Bilal, Marc Caro, Eberoni, Margerin, etc… On top of his publishing activity, he turned to TV with his accomplice Philippe Manoeuvre (as soon as 1982 in Les Enfants du Rock), then alone when he hosted the weekly show Cinéma de Quartier on Canal+ from 1987 to 2009, that brought to light a slew of forgotten exploitation movies, and also Quartier Interdit, a sister show more focused on horror movies. At the end of the 90s he started Des Films, a distribution company that allowed us to discover some of the best Asian directors (Miike, Miyazaki, Kitano, Tsui Hark, Johnnie To, etc) and produced films by Fruit Chan (Durian Durian) and Olivier Dahan's Le Petit Poucet (Tom Thumb). This passionate explorer of the bizarre opens his treasure chest for us to unveil some unknown wonders.

Barbarosa (New print)
(Barbarosa)
Barbarosa

After he inadvertently kills a neighbour, Karl Westover, a young farmer on the run meets Barbarosa, himself under threat of death by his stepfather, a rich Mexican cattle breeder, because he married his daughter against his will. Karl and Barbarosa will team up to escape from their enemies who relentlessly track them.

Everybody knows Willie Nelson, the outlaw, the last of the old "giants". He is less known as an actor, playing himself in Jerry Shatzberg's Showbus, magical in Michael Mann's Thief and he's not at all known as a producer like for instance with the Stagecoach remake with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristopherson. Here he plays Barbarosa, the man with the red beard who'll teach Gary Busey the tricks of the outlaw trade. If the story seems familiar it's only normal as it's the same as in William Riley Burnett's Captain Lightfoot adapted by the same for the eponymic film by Douglas Sirk; Burnett who was furious with Michael Cimino's cut and paste Thunderbolt and Lightfoot with... Gary Busey. Willie Nelson says his inspiration came from the true story of an Irish highwayman from the early 19th century. In any case the title well describes this bloody family vengeance story where almost everyone ends up dead.

Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Dead and buried
Dead and buried

After the gruesome murder of a photographer, mysteriously burnt alived, Dan Gillis, the sheriff of the town of Potter's Bluff investigates, seconded by forensic examiner William G. Dobbs.

The most horrible horror film in the world ? Maybe. Back in the days of Metal Hurlant, I often ran into Dan O'Bannon who told me he wanted to write a film more terrifying than the EC comic books... And he succeeded with this film directed by Gary Sherman, whose first feature film Death Line was already very scary.

O'Bannon co-wrote the first Carpenter movie, Dark Star (1974), then spent five years working on Jodorowski's Dune before writing the script for Alien. He then achieved success as a scriptwriter with Blue Thunder and directed two outstanding films : Return of the Dead that didn't receive the success it deserved and The Resurrected, an excellent Lovecraftian film that flopped, before his death after a long illness.

We're in a little Californian town on the seaside where living is easy, or rather dying is easy, and in the horriblest way possible.

You think we must be mad, desperate, manipulated? No, no way.

Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Doppelgänger (New print)
(Doppelgänger)
Doppelgänger

A space probe discovers an unknown planet hidden behind the sun, diametrically opposite the Earth. Two astronauts are sent to explore this new territory but things do not happen as planned...

I wanted to see it again before showing it to you : it's the craziest science fiction film I've ever seen. So I saw it again : it makes Alice in Wonderland seem reasonable. A madman's film. Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (AKA Lady Penelope) and their usual collaborators from their "supermarionation" series. They always wrote together, Sylvia drew the costumes and spaceships, the weapons of the future, the furniture, etc. Even Japan was fascinated and one of the creators of the Sony Walkman told me their vision of the future had inspired him. Doppelgänger was their only feature film with real actors but they would do it again with the TV series UFO.

Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Running scared
Running scared

Some bent cops try to heist the loot during a drug transaction, but they're shot by the smugglers. Working for the dealers, Joey is missioned to get rid of the gun used to kill the cops, that could be traced to the killers. But a friend of his son's steals the weapon...

All the films in my presentation are from the 80s except this one, released in 2006 with no response whatsoever from critics and audience alike.

Blame it on the director, so South African Wayne Kramer quit film directing after four feature films. His first film Lady Chance, Jury's Prize at Cognac was prophetic : it told the life of a jinxed loser hired by the casinos to make players lose.

The second one is Running Scared, that I saw in an empty theater,  despite its great cast :  Paul Walker, Chazz Palminteri, Cameron Bright and Vera Farmiga...

It's a frantic deranged noir film, magnificently directed, superbly edited and acted. With two never before seen sequences : An ice hockey game shot in black light and especially a couple of suave pedophiles in their paradise for children that reminds of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T.

Jean-Pierre Dionnet
The naked prey
The naked prey

During a safari in South Africa, a group of hunters, ignoring their guide's advice, refuse to pay the tribute demanded by a local tribe. The tribe warriors then attack and torture the hunters and decide to give their guide a few hours headstart before they hunt him down.

I saw it at the Eldorado theater in Livry-Gargan.

It blew my mind : a realistic take on The Most Dangerous Game, as it was partly based on Americans Lewis and Clark expedition into Indian territory, transposed to South Africa. It reveals the recipe to roast skewered white men baked in clay. The producer, director and lead actor is Cornel Wilde, a charming actor who directed a few movies at the end of his career, like Beach Red, one of the bloodiest war films ever made.

A terrifying and breathtaking survival movie, sometimes equalled but never surpassed in terms of sadistic cruelty. Set in an unvarnished South Africa, showing how the colonizers' violence triggered that of the natives. Just after Zulu, shot almost at the same time, long before Zulu Dawn and Shaka Zulu, it portrays these magnificent warriors, who for a while stood up to the British army, hunting down a single unarmed man : no one would want to be in his place.

Jean-Pierre Dionnet
Canal+ La Spirale Chaos Reign Ville de Paris ScreenAnarchy VDM: Video Digital Multimedia Geek le mag Lobster films Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - DRAC Île de France Nova, le grand mix Première La septième obsession Agnès b.