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  • 3.9
"I don't know why I shouldn't talk about myself. I'm the person who knows the most about myself. Right?" So begins a fascinatingly frank conversation with the great French writer Jean Genet, conducted in the summer of 1981 (five years before his passing) by actor, theater director, and filmmaker Antoine Bourseiller. Genet, seventy-one at the time, sits outdoors, flanked by trees and accompanied by the rustle of cicadas, as he roams back over his orphaned childhood of penury, petty theft and prison, where his sexual awakening and art were born in rebellion against an unjust and hypocritical society, formative years spent in Greece, and pivotal relationships and episodes throughout an uncompromising artistic and political life. Bourseiller intercuts the narrative with excerpts from Genet's poems, essays and books (read by actors Gerard Desarthe, Jean-Quentin Chatelain and Roger Blin); documentary footage of Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti (whom Genet puts in uniquely high regard); and other original footage, including a tour of the by then deserted Mettray penal colony, subject of Genet's autobiographical "The Miracle of the Rose." - Robert Avila

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Member Reviews (5)

top reviewer

Toward the beginning of the film, Genet says that the most interesting aspects of himself are in his films. After watching this film, I'm inclined to agree. Unless you're really interested in the man himself, I'd watch his work instead, which is shockingly direct, poetic, passionate, and even more personal than I realized.

So beautiful! I think the translation could have been a bit better, but after a while I tuned out the subtitles and simply listened (though not simply at all). I wish I could have known this man. He reminds me of the words and soul and life I used to know in myself. I needed this.

We rarely hear honesty in action. Does it take an "outsider" like Genet to show the facts of living in this world? Apparently it does.

Genet was still pretty attractive, even as an old man.

What a great opportunity to see Jean Genet and listen to him. Wonderful !!