JONAS MEKAS ON MIOTTE VU PAR RUIZ
Would you discuss the way Jean Miottes painting compliments the medium
JM - Painting and cinema are two different arts and every art is an art in itself. But all muses are on the same Olympus and they talk to one another. I can tell you why I like Ruizs film. In the first place I like it because it does not tell what Jean Miottes paintings are all about. Rather it is about the process of painting, struggling, sweating, getting tired, and fighting. It is one of the best films I have seen that deals with the struggle and hard work of making a painting. For me that is the essence of this film.
How do you feel about the analogies that Raoul Ruiz draws between music and
the work of Jean Miotte?
I really didnt like the music in it. I think the best parts were the
real-life sounds when he is breathing. The music distracted me and worked
against the film. The Japanese music was a disaster but the film is still
Could you discuss Ruizs technique of mounting a camera directly on Jean
That subjectivity is characteristic of Ruizs camera work in all of his
films. He finds the most unique angles that nobody else would even think of,
and he is very sensitive to whatever else is happening around with light and
shadows. His inventiveness has no end. Thats one of the things that
makes his films interesting. No matter what the subject is, he explores the
very essence of the location or place.
Could you discuss the notion of gesture in Jean Miottes painting and
Raoul Ruizs cinematography?
The way I see is it is: there is this canvas in front of you and Miotte is
surging to make the first attack, because there is a fight going on between
him and this canvas. The film has everything to do with this intense moment
when he is puffing and groaning and talking to himself. Miottes paintings
jump out of him with a certain immediacy. Gesture for me is the very physical
gesture of an attack. There is a lot of that in what Ruiz recorded. I dont
think Miotte did that just for the film, I think thats the way he works.
And of course hes not the only one, others from the Action Painting
period worked similarly. This is one of the films for anybody who wants to
study artists at work. That is what it means to make a work of art,
to struggle and fight like a boxer in the ring.
Miotte Vu Par Ruiz, a documentary by Raoul Ruiz on painter Jean Miotte was screened at Anthology Film Archives on May 3rd, 2002. Miotte Vu Par Ruiz, 2001, 80 minutes, 16mm color. Distributed by Duende pictures.