LES NOMADES DU SOLEIL

LES NOMADES DU SOLEIL

1955

44 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Les Nomades du soleil (The Nomads of the Sun)

This ethnographic film follows the nomadic life of the Wodaabe Fulani ethnic group, whose life is punctuated by the dry and rainy seasons. Included in a multimedia project, this medium-length film shows the daily life of this nomadic people whose main rituals take place during the “time of green grass.” The preparation and running of the annual Guerewol festival are carefully captured by the filmmaker. It is a prenuptial ritual taking place over several days in which men, adorned with jewellery and make-up, perform songs and dances under the watchful eye of their potential brides and members of the community. The director acts as a witness to a dying world: “How long will the Wodaabe be able to preserve their superb and fragile independence?” (GD)

 

Les Nomades du soleil (The Nomads of the Sun)
Switzerland, 1955, 44 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: Musée d’ethnographie, Neuchâtel
Filmed by: Henry Brandt Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2016 (with the support of Memoriav)

LES HOMMES DES CHÂTEAUX

LES HOMMES DES CHÂTEAUX

1955

21 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Les Hommes des châteaux (The men of the castles)

During his ethnographic mission to the Sahara, Henry Brandt directed this short film depicting a funeral rite, as well as the daily life of the Batammariba people, a sedentary tribe in northern Dahomey, now Benin. The director particularly highlights the “marvellous funeral dances” performed by men and women and focuses on the uniqueness of the vernacular constructions of this community, hence the “castles” in the title. Perceived as particularly refined by astonished Western visitors, this architectural work contrasts with the virtual absence of adornments of the Batammariba people, who live almost naked. Presented in conjunction with Les Nomades du soleil (The Nomads of the Sun), the reception of these two films drew on exotic and sensory perceptions. (GD)

 

Les Hommes des châteaux (The men of the castles)
Switzerland, 1955, 21 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt Filmed by: Henry Brandt
Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2018 (with the support of Memoriav)

QUAND NOUS ÉTIONS PETITS ENFANTS

QUAND NOUS ÉTIONS PETITS ENFANTS

1961

1h31

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Quand nous étions petits enfants (When we were children)

Commissioned by the Société pédagogique in Neuchâtel, this feature film focuses on the daily life of a classroom with nine different age groups in Taillères, a village in La Brévine. For a year Henry Brandt filmed the lessons of teacher Charles Guyot. In keeping with the seasons, the film highlights the picturesque daily life of the village and its schoolchildren. Forging a close relationship with the class, the filmmaker perfectly portrays the atmosphere of this small school. Inspired by the method of French pedagogue Célestin Freinet, the teacher abandons abstract lessons in favour of group activities and free expression. Distributed by Brandt in French-speaking Switzerland, this touching film met with great success when released and left a lasting mark on the inhabitants of the region. (LS)

 

Quand nous étions petits enfants (When we were children)
Switzerland, 1961, 1h31, 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: Société pédagogique neuchâteloise
Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2018 (with the support of Memoriav and RTS)

LA SUISSE S’INTERROGE

LA SUISSE S’INTERROGE

1964

22 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

La Suisse s’interroge (Switzerland ponders)

La Suisse s’interroge (Switzerland ponders) is a series of five short films presented in the Voie Suisse, one of the main attractions at Expo 64. Henry Brandt deconstructs the idealized image both citizens and foreigners have of Switzerland. The exhibition layout used a combination of screens and formats that follow on from one another: La Suisse est belle (Switzerland is beautiful) was shot in cinemascope and in colour; Problèmes (Problems) in black and white and 16mm; the only fictional film of the filmmaker's career, La Course au bonheur (The race to happiness), portrays a materialistic family; Croissance (Growth) was shown in colour on three screens; Ton pays est dans le monde (Your country is in the world) ends the series in black and white with a split screen. These five films demonstrate an astonishing freedom of speech within the constraints of a commissioned work. (GD)

 

La Suisse s’interroge (Switzerland ponders)
Switzerland, 1964, 22 min., original version in three languages (FR/GER/IT), 16mm
By Henry Brandt
WITH Corinne Coderey, Bernard Junod, Christophe Brandt Commissioned by: Swiss National Exhibition in 1964, Lausanne
Filmed by: Henry Brandt
Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2018 (with the support of Memoriav)

LES HOMMES DE LA MONTRE

LES HOMMES DE LA MONTRE

1964

33 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Les Hommes de la montre (The Watchmakers)

Through the main theme of the film, “How does one’s heart and soul feel when repeating the same actions all day long?”, Henry Brandt focuses on automation at work in this short film produced between 1960 and 1963. The film is divided into three parts, which depict the three eras of watchmaking: tradition with a watchmaker-peasant, modernity where the work is undertaken by machines and finally the future in which tools are optimized by engineers. Although it was commissioned by the Neuchâtel company Ebauche SA, Henry Brandt was free to create his own vision and offered a critical analysis of the evolution of watchmaking, as well as the hope of the potential liberation of workers thanks to automation. (GD)

 

Les Hommes de la montre (The Watchmakers)
Switzerland, 1964, 33 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: Ebauche SA
Digitized by: DAV 2021

VOYAGE CHEZ LES VIVANTS – L’AVENTURE DES HOMMES

VOYAGE CHEZ LES VIVANTS – L’AVENTURE DES HOMMES

1970

1h39

35 mm

Henry Brandt

Voyage chez les vivants – L’Aventure des hommes
(Travels among the living – The adventure of men)

Commissioned by the World Health Organization, Henry Brandt painted a portrait of humanity in turmoil in the mid-1960s, a time of contrasts when the poor now lived only a few hours by plane from the wealthy and where plentiful societies rubbed shoulders with newly decolonized countries. While the youth in the West rebelled and reject en masse the moral values of their parents, life was a constant struggle for survival for most of humanity. With a small team, Brandt travelled the world for two years and brought back a vast stock of images that would also be used for television. After a long period of editing, this unusual project, eagerly awaited after the filmmaker's success at Expo 64, was a commercial flop. (LS)

 

Voyage chez les vivants – L’Aventure des hommes (Travels among the living – The adventure of men)
Switzerland, 1970, 1h39, FR/ENG subtitles, shot in 16mm and broadcast in 35mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: World Health Organization
Filmed by: Jean-Luc Nicollier
Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2020 (with the support of Memoriav)

S. CORINNA BILLE ET MAURICE CHAPPAZ

S. CORINNA BILLE ET MAURICE CHAPPAZ

1973

49 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

S. Corinna Bille and Maurice Chappaz

Created in collaboration with journalist Gérald Mury, this report on Corinna Bille and Maurice Chappaz was produced for the En Personne programme on French-speaking Swiss Television. Released on February 6, 1973, it portrays the writing couple as living apart from the community in their house in Bois de Finges, in Valais. The first part looks at their relationship and the financial difficulties they have faced, while the second focuses on writing. As a recognized writer, Maurice Chappaz talks about his work and what concerns him, notably the changes that were occurring in Valais in its race towards modernity. A shorter time is dedicated to Corinna Bille, focusing more on her personal life than her career as a writer. The Valais landscapes punctuate the programme, both visually and in the literary work of the two writers, completing the story of this couple living on the fringes of society. (GD)

 

S. Corinna Bille and Maurice Chappaz
Switzerland, 1973, RTS, 49 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Remastering: RTS

 

LA MAISON OUVERTE

LA MAISON OUVERTE

1973

53 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

La Maison ouverte (The open house)

This TV programme produced for the Aujourd’hui broadcast by French-speaking Swiss television is devoted to an unusual household in Cologny, a wealthy town in the Geneva suburbs. With their light film equipment, Brandt and journalist Guy Ackermann follow two couples, their children and their friends. These couples have chosen an alternative lifestyle, completely out of step with the social norms of the time. The first couple, Brigitte and Dominique, are passionate about weaving and both have part-time jobs. In the second couple, Franceline is a devoted doctor and René is a stay-at-home husband. These four thirtysomethings are surrounded by several friends and acquaintances, who are free to come and go as they wish. An innovative community experience that is totally opposite to a normal life in council accommodation, this open house way of life offers an alternative perspective on the link between humans and their habitat. (LS)

 

La Maison ouverte (The open house)
Switzerland, 1973, RTS, 53 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Remastering: RTS

LE DERNIER PRINTEMPS

LE DERNIER PRINTEMPS

1977

1h29

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Le Dernier Printemps (The Last Spring)

Commissioned by the Loterie Romande, this documentary depicts the realities of the elderly in a society amid a demographic upheaval. The filmmaker is meticulously prepared and interviews pensioners of all social classes: former members of the federal government who look back with pride on their illustrious career, residents of a retirement home, or an old lady who lives in the solitude of her Geneva apartment. Despite this apparent heterogeneity, this generation born at the turn of the 20th century seems to share a similar feeling of exclusion. Beyond simply observing this issue, Brandt opposes these interviews with the often inflammatory opinions of young people who have harsh views on the elderly and the gap that has widened between the generations. (LS)

 

Le Dernier Printemps (The Last Spring)
Switzerland, 1977, 1h29, shot in 16mm and broadcast in 35mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: Loterie Romande
Filmed by: Willy Rohrbach
Restored by: Cinémathèque suisse 2019 (with the support of Memoriav)

LE BLÉ DES PHARAONS

LE BLÉ DES PHARAONS

1987

32 min

16 mm

Henry Brandt

Le Blé des pharaons (The wheat of the pharaohs)

This short film features a dialogue between eleven young people under the age of 20 and two pensioners, Paul Golay, 83, and Rosi Weill, 72. The filmmaker's last work attempts to better understand the divide between generations and tries to bridge the gap. Gathered in a chalet, the group freely discuss a variety of often intimate issues, such as sexuality, marriage and the future of society. Added to these exchanges are some festive images of the two generations waltzing together. Contrary to many ‘fly on the wall’ type documentaries influenced by cinéma-vérité, Brandt is on camera, portraying himself as a mediator. (GD)

 

Le Blé des pharaons (The wheat of the pharaohs)
Switzerland, 1987, 32 min., 16mm
By Henry Brandt
Commissioned by: Pro Senectute Suisse, Office fédéral de la culture, Club Soroptimist International de Neuchâtel
Filmed by: Willy Rohrbach
Digitized by: Cinémathèque suisse 2020