BUSTER [working title]
Mathieu Bauer / creation
I have always been amazed by this figure who has been nicknamed “ the man who never laughs ”, “ the wax figure ” or even “ Great Stone face ” : Buster Keaton.
His films have always made me feel both a childish pleasure as a spectator and admiration for the immense filmmaker and artist he was. Many of them have entered my cinephile pantheon and remain references in my artistic imagination.
Because beyond the cream pies, chases and spectacular stunts, Keaton is a master in the highly complicated art of what is called burlesque cinema.
Constantly underscoring the difficult relationships between man and objects, space and the Other, he places his character in a totally parallel world of his own invention and has him deal with adversity, which becomes the source of a multitude of gags.
He pits a body charged with poetry and melancholy, a body steeped in humanity, against the harshness of our world and makes us laugh, but in a salutary manner. I also remember certain dazzling ideas in his staging of scenes that never cease to enthrall me when I watch them again.
Through this unique cine-concert, a combination of performance, lecture and concert, I would like to pay tribute to this genius.
I will be working on one of Keaton’s masterpieces, The Navigator, a one-hour silent film dating from 1924, some of whose sequences I will cut. The plot can be summarised as follows : due to a bizarre combination of circumstances, an idle millionaire finds himself on a cruise ship that has gone adrift, in the company of the woman (also an aristocrat) he loves and would like to marry. Left to themselves, they must take control of the ship and their lives if they want to survive.
It is perhaps one of Keaton’s most beautiful films, wonderfully inventive and at the same time imbued with the melancholic comedy that is so special to his work. The ship, an enclosed space that is in fact quite small, provides the ideal playground for a Keaton at the height of his art.
after the film The Navigator by Donald Crisp and Buster Keaton
adaptation, editing and staging Mathieu Bauer
artistic collaboration and composition Sylvain Cartigny
dramaturgy Thomas Pondevie and Stéphane Goudet
scenography, lighting design and stage management Xavier Lescat
sound design Alexis Pawlak
Mathieu Bauer musician
Sylvain Cartigny musician
Stéphane Goudet lecturer
Arthur Sidoroff circus performer
Lawrence Williams musician
a Nouveau théâtre de Montreuil - Centre Dramatique National production
Premiering at the Nouveau théâtre de Montreuil - CDN from 14 to 16 November 2019
LUX Scène Nationale de Valence 22 January 2020