Director Jean Thevenin, who studied art and cinema in Paris at La Sorbonne, started shooting experimental movies, music videos and documentaries in Super 8, on his iPhone or DV cameras over the past few years, yet his most recent project, a collaboration with Parisian soundscaper Judah Warsky for his latest track, “L’Espace,” from his LP Painkillers & Alcohol, has been a much more collaborative effort, implementing footage from the past and taking on an editorial, production role as curator of the project.
Thevenin made the video using footage Warsky shot in 1987 when he was eight years old, as the background for his song which is the product of creating music to text written by the musician’s mother, Catherine Cesarsky (a famous french astronomer) in 2010. The result is ‘a trip through space and time,’ which the director expressed to Portable, ”The song deals about a trip through space, and the idea of the video is to find correspondences between space and time.”
A musician himself, it was a natural progression for Thevenin to focus on music videos. He explained to Portable, “I am mainly interested in video art, cinema and music. My second activity is to play drums that’s why I am naturally interested in music videos, and the fact is a lot of my friends are musicians and ask me to make music videos for them… I’m always interested about intimacy with people I work with.”
Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges novels, Thevenin’s desire to “make something strong,” allowed him to experiment with found footage for the first time to a creative and engaging result. Furthermore, the marriage between all creative outlets are a constant inspiration for the Parisian director; “I’m really excited about finding correspondences between visual field and music, and cinema is the perfect place for this, with architecture. One of the greatest composer of the 20th century, the greek Iannis Xennakis, started his carrer as an architect assistant for Le Corbusier,” he said.
Technically, the film was a completely collaborative effort which Thevenin discussed with Portable stating, “I took the old super 8 films Judah shot 25 years ago. There were five reels in totality. We used a super 8 projector to play the films on a white wall, and shot it with a digital camera. Then I got all the footage in digital and I worked on Final Cut to rewrite a story who could be an answer for the song.”
Thevenin’s innovative use of stop motion adds an integral layer to Warsky’s youth-shot imagery, that without it would simply be a monotonous home video. Instead creative editing and production has allowed “L’Espace” to be an artistic piece of film straddling and blurring the lines of the traditional music video.