Jean Vigo (1905-1934)
Film director, born 26.04.1905 in Paris to a family of a radical anarchist, who was strangled in his cell while under hatches. Back then JV is only 12, and he is sent to a boarding-school under an assumed name Jean Sales.
This later inspires him for making the film Zéro de conduite (1933).
In 1922, JV returns to his mother, enters a lyceum, then – the Sorbonne University. For a short period, he works as an assistant to cinematographer at the Franco film studio, and then, with a used cinecamera, starts his first work – a socially ironic documentary film À propos de Nice (1930, cinematography by Boris Kaufman). The film is soon followed by a portrait of a swimming champion Taris, roi de l'eau (1931). Jean Vigo’s last film, and his only full-length feature is the world-famous L'Atalante (1934), which has often been quoted and dignified.
He died in 05.10.1934 of complications from tuberculosis.
In his short life of 29 years, he only made 4 films with the total length of incomplete 200 minutes. Yet, his influence on the cinematic language and further processes is of consequence.
Since 1951, Prix Jean Vigo is awarded to outstanding debut films; among others, it has been received by Claude Chabrol for his film Le Beau Serge (1958) and by Jean-Luc Godard for À bout de souffle (1959). In 1964, a film about Jean Vigo was made – Cinéastes de notre temps: Jean Vigo (1964, dir. Jacques Rozier).