logo RaForum Film Reviews and Bibliography

* aide à la recherche

 puce grise Index
 puce grise Authors site
 puce grise People mentioned
 puce grise A specific keyword
 puce grise Site Map

What’s new on the Web
 puce grise breves
 puce grise by site
 puce grise by date

Ferrua, Pietro

Sartre par lui-même ( Sartre by Himself)
Film by Alexandre ASTRUC and Michel CONTAT

France, 1976

B&W. 98’







CAST: Jean-Paul SARTRE, Simone de BEAUVOIR, Jacques-Laurent BOST, André GORZ, Marie OLIVIER, François PERIER, Jean POULLON, Serge REGGIANI. VOICE OVER: Jacques FRANTZ, Serge REGGIANI, Françoise GIRET, Philippe ADRIEN.

No one was perhaps more philosophically influential for the post-World War II generation than Jean-Paul Sartre. With such diverse thinkers as Albert CAMUS and André BRETON, he formed a triad that was dominating the intellectual world. At that time, we did not consider it an anomaly that those three writers were all French, did not agree among themselves, and had some flaws in their thinking.

The fact that all three were somewhat connected to anarchism was just a coincidence which made some of us admire them even more despite their diversity.

At the University of Geneva, some of us were subscribing collectively to Les Temps Modernes, the journal directed by Sartre, which gave us so much food for thought. In those days, I considered Existentialism the logical philosophy for anarchists and I had written some papers on that topic. Notwithstanding Sarte’s dominating personality, we were not blindly agreeable to everything he wrote or did. On the contrary, we were even more upset when he tried to be politically correct in relation to the Soviet Union or adversaries.

Alexandre Astruc, one of the two directors of this film, is an unconditional supporter of Sartre as a political thinker for the French Left. Astruc, a neglected French filmmaker, is a great stylist and was always an honest, serious and committed intellectual. I had the opportunity to discuss this film with him during one of our rare encounters, at the hospital bed of a common friend. In Astruc’s opinion, Sartre was essentially an anarchist. Sartre admits (and says in the film), "We were, if you like anarchists, but it was a special kind of anarchy".

What kind of anarchy it was, he did not say, at least not in this documentary. So I have to trust Astruc’s explanations beyond the film, since he was a personal friend of both Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. A few anarchist characters appear in the short stories of Le Mur (and they inspired Serge Roullet a wonderful film) and many of his fictional or theatrical characters speak as anarchists even if they do not claim to be so.

Astruc and Contat’s film concludes on an anarchist note when the narrator says:

"Sartre, together with his comrades, pursued the search for a socialism without any previous model, without authority, without delegation of power: a libertarian socialism".

It was probably this very declaration that determined us (the organizing committee of the First International Symposium on Anarchism) to invite Sartre to speak at our 1980 event. What could have been the "great opportunity" to explore directly Sartre‚s anarchism never materialized: Sartre was already seriously ill. He died soon afterward.

While the anarchism of Sartre remains to be researched, cinematographically or otherwise, this film constitutes a milestone in the domain of "Sartrology". I am happy to underline that it was beautifully filmed by Renato Berta, a Swiss-Italian student at the University of Geneva in 1954, who knew, already then, that he wanted to become a cinematographer and who, indeed, became acclaimed for this in Switzerland, as well as in France, collaborating on the creation of numerous masterpieces in a career that spans half a century.

Pietro Ferrua

Contributor : CREAGH Ronald

To cite this page:
Sartre par lui-même ( Sartre by Himself), What's new: 6 January 2005. [Online].
[Accessed on 3 March 2015]

FERRUA, Pietro (Piero) Michele Stefano (1930 - ....)
Also by

puce grise AA - Man Ray - Prophet of the Avant-Garde
puce grise AA - Repentance (Monanieba)
puce grise AA - Matewan
puce grise AA - Some Curiosities. III. The Tree of Guernica (L’arbre de Guernica)
puce grise AA - Saint Michael had a rooster (San Michele aveva un gallo)
puce grise AA - Il figlio di Bakunin (The Son of Bakunin)
puce grise AA - Internationale
puce grise AA - Cananea
puce grise AA - L’Aigle à Deux Têtes (The Two-Headed Eagle)
puce grise AA - Freedom Fighters (Libertarias)
puce grise In other languages: puce rouge "Marie-Christine Mikhaïlo. De la haute bourgeoisie scandinave à l’anarchisme". Film documentaire (fr)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro.- Entrevista sobre cinema e anarquismo (pt)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro. "Indignados/ “Occupy Wall Street” visto da Portland, Oregon" (it)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro. "Zapata sempre attuale" (it)   puce rouge "André Bösiger. Libertaire Jurassien". Film de Bernard BAISSAT (fr)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro. Hommage à des artistes anarchistes (fr)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro.- John Cage, anarchico "schedato". (it)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro. "Interprétation gouvernementale" (fr)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro (it)   puce rouge FERRUA, Pietro.- Lembranças do Ideal Peres (pt)   (...)

[ Download the article (pdf)]

1996-2015 – Webmestre – Credits – Our website – Follow site activity Syndication  –
No commercial reproduction, adaptation, distribution or transmission of any part or parts of this website or information contained therein is by any means whatsoever permitted