New Publications

Bernard Bastide, Back to the origins of film in Camargue: Joë Hamman and Folco de Baroncelli (Palais du Roure, 2018)

Through this book, Bernard Bastide (an expert on Louis Feuillade and Jacques de Baroncelli) brings to light the early cinema career of Joë Hamman, a filmmaker, artist, and actor, who conceived his acting in a fundamentally sober and athletic way. More precisely, the book describes how Hamman created what could be considered a kind of early French Western. Bastide reveals Hamman’s path through a wide range of fascinating sources: nine scripts and synopses by Joë Hamman developed between 1906 and 1913 are entirely transcribed; a summary table of the films shot in Camargue enriches our knowledge of this pioneer period; his continuous correspondence with the poet Folco de Baroncelli describes captivating practices and issues about early film shoots; finally, a wide variety of documents about Hamman are gathered and commented on by Bastide.

“In the Camargue of the early 20th Century, . . . Joë Hamman, with the valuable contribution of [Folco de Baroncelli], recreated, as of 1909, first a fake substitute of the American West, then a compelling framework for film adaptations of literary works rooted in this territory (Mireille, Notre-Dame d’amour, etc.). Together, they shaped an imaginary of open spaces, wild rides, and rustic lives, which found in early cinema a powerful vehicle for diffusion, throughout the world.” (p. 9)