MUBI presents: Pierre Clementi's In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal (1986)
A hallucinatory sci-fi-noir—one of the great underground French films of the ‘80s—presented by Balthazar Clementi in an L.A. premiere restoration.
Nov 03, 2022, 8:00 PM
Los Angeles, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal
directed by Pierre Clementi
1986, 82m, France, DCP
L.A. premiere of a 4K restoration by the Cinematheque française
Introduced by Balthazar Clementi, son of Pierre Clementi
French actor and sex symbol Pierre Clementi (1942-1999) was best known for his darkly enchanting screen presence in films by some of the most significant European filmmakers of his era (Buñuel, Visconti, Bertolucci, Pasolini). Yet he was also a significant countercultural figure in France, with a commitment to leftist politics that extended from his participation in the May ’68 uprising to a non-traditional, voracious artistic practice into the ‘70s and ‘80s. This included a series of psychedelic experimental films, rarely seen during his lifetime, which have since become cult items in his home country, and have finally reached the U.S. in glorious restorations.
Equal parts Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs and Kenneth Anger, Clementi’s hallucinatory sci-fi-noir In the Shadow of the Blue Rascal was his sole narrative feature, and may also be his masterwork. Shot on 16mm, Clementi’s dystopian vision of Paris is called Nécrocity, a hedonistic netherworld where state police (with the chief played by Cleménti himself) chase gangsters through a hazy, heroin-fueled nightlife. With its highly foreboding, trance-inducing atmosphere—marked by dazzling superimpositions and an unrelenting industrial soundtrack by Gilbert Artman—Clementi’s post-punk Surrealist transmission is one of the great underground French films of the ‘80s, and deserves to be seen on the big screen.
This screening takes place on the momentous occasion of the English-language translation of Clémenti’s memoir A Few Personal Messages, originally published in 1973 after his release from Italian prison on trumped-up possession charges. The book, translated by Claire Foster and published by Small Press, will be available for purchase at the screening. Click here for more information.
This screening would not be possible without generous support from MUBI and the French Consulate of Los Angeles.
Special thanks to Stephanie LaCava (Small Press), Sophie Cavoulacos (MoMA), Emilie Cauquy (Cinematheque française), Lucie Carette and Lise de Sablet (Ville Albertine), and Dylan Polachek (MUBI).