Cécile Fontaine's films do not tell stories in the traditional sense. Rather, they form spiraling involutions around an idea or a theme. Hers is a cinema of layers, encrustations, and material and plastic experimentation. It is a colorful and aquatic cinema that investigates—through stripping down and subsequent reconstruction—the material from which the images are made: the film strip itself. This essay investigates the poetics and the practice of Fontaine's found footage cinema, a cinema rigorously made without a movie camera, beginning with her first experiments with dry and wet techniques in the 1980s up to her more complex operations at the end of the 1990s. It is a cinema that, by fishing in the stream of abandoned images, reflects on the nature of the image, of memory and history, all rolled onto the vertical axis of the film.
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